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Call to Those Who Rent Out Land to Engage in Survey

NFU Scotland is urging all land owners who rent or lease out land on any basis to engage in the Scottish Government’s survey of the sector, which commences this week

Surveys asking about experiences and views on letting out land in Scotland are being sent over the next week to about 3,000 farm businesses that the Scottish Government knows rent out land. The Scottish Government is also asking agents to contact clients who are land owners to let them know about the survey.

Responses will feed into the Ministerial-led Agricultural Holdings Legislation review, announced by the Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead last year.  Members of the expert group to carry out the review were announced in November 2013. The review is considering many issues related to the tenanted sector, including an absolute right to buy for traditional secure 1991 agricultural tenancies. The survey of tenant farmers has already been concluded.

The surveys have been developed in conjunction with the Scottish stakeholder group, the Tenant Farming Forum, of which NFU Scotland is a member.

In 2013, NFU Scotland held two seminars which saw a wide range of stakeholders map out a vision for how land tenure in Scotland might look come 2020.  The Union is also currently meeting tenant and landlord members at meetings round Scotland to help inform its forthcoming submission to the review group.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller, who is chairing the current round of meetings, said:

“It is hugely important to Scottish agriculture that we have a tenanted sector that works for existing tenants and landlords, while also ensuring that there are opportunities for new and expanding businesses to rent land.  It is important that those who let out land on a permanent basis, a fixed term tenancy or seasonal basis feed in their views to this survey.  

“The remit of the review group is to examine if we have the appropriate legislation to deliver a tenanted sector that’s fit for purpose or if changes are required to improve existing tenancy agreements, such as changes to the rent review process and waygo.   At the end of the process, we need a legislative framework that encourages the owners of land to rent while providing security to the tenant, allowing them to invest in their farms.   

“The recent successful survey of Scottish tenant farmers was the first piece in the review process jigsaw and now it is the turn of those who let out land.  Their participation will ensure any future decisions by the review group are balanced and based on the most accurate data available.”  

Notes to Editors

  • Surveys asking about experiences and views on the future of farming of Scotland are being sent over the next week to about 3,000 farm businesses that the Scottish Government knows rent out land on a wide range of arrangements. The Scottish Government is also asking agents to contact clients who are land owners to let them know about the survey.
  • Anyone who lets out land and has not received a copy of the survey by Friday April 4, 2014 can request one by contacting David.Myers@ipsos.com and providing details of the relevant farming business including holding reference numbers. Responses can be submitted online or on paper and are requested by April 7, 2014 although will continue be accepted until early May.
  • The surveys have been carefully developed in collaboration with Tenant Farming Forum members including NFU Scotland (NFUS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland, Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association (SAAVA).
  • A report incorporating all the strands of the research will be published on the Scottish Government website later this year.
  • NFU Scotland is currently holding a round of meetings, chaired by President Nigel Miller, to discuss items that will be included in our oral and written submissions to the Agricultural Holdings Review group. The remaining dates are:

Tenant Meetings
-    31st March, Lanark Mart, Lanark, 12.30 (lunch provided)
-    31st March,  Carfraemill, Lauder, 7pm (coffee provided)
-    2nd April, Douglas Arms, Castle Douglas, 12.30pm (lunch provided)

Landlord/Owner Occupier Meetings
-    4th April, Aviemore Highland Resort, Aviemore 12.30pm (lunch provided)
-    7th April, Lanark Mart, Lanark, 12.30pm (lunch provided)

  • Members unable to attend the meetings are encouraged to make their views known by contacting NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical Policy Manager Gemma Thomson on gemma.thomson@nfus.org.uk or call 0131 472 4018.
  • The Agricultural Holding Legislation Review Group are visiting Islay on 2 April and Oban on 3 April 2014.  Members will be visiting both tenants and landlords in the area during the day and holding Open Meetings both evenings at: Gaelic College, Bowmore from 6.30pm - 10pm and Corran Halls, Oban from 6.30pm - 10pm on the following evening. Group members will provide information on how the Review Group is approaching the Review and are keen to hear from stakeholders with regard to the issues outlined in its Remit.  Should individuals wish to speak to Review Group members privately, this will be made possible after the open meeting, or at another time to be arranged.  If you would like discuss anything privately with the Group please email TenantFarmingReview@scotland.gsi.gov.uk in advance.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 59/14


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