TFF Announces Rent Review Initiative

Issued by NFU Scotland on behalf of the Tenant Farming Forum

The Tenant Farming Forum (TFF) has today (Thursday, 7 June) announced the establishment of an independent specialist short-life working group, the Rent Review Working Group (RRWG), to consider specific aspects of agricultural rent review procedures in Scotland.  The four members of the group have been appointed on a personal basis and not on any organisational affiliation. 

The group will consider matters within its remit, and will submit its report and recommendations to the TFF and the Scottish Government.  The TFF will consider the recommendations and propose actions, including any recommended procedural or legislative changes, which may be required.

The RRWG has been formally endorsed by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment who has agreed that the Scottish Government will provide support and technical assistance for the RRWG’s programme of work.  He has requested that the TFF revert to him on the recommendations of the RRWG.

Phil Thomas, TFF Chairman said:

“The Rent Review Working Group (RRWG) will commence its work this month, with the objective of reporting to TFF in November, 2012.  The group will consider how 1991 Act rent reviews are presently conducted in Scotland and compare and contrast the existing Scottish model with alternatives.  Any RRWG recommendations for change will be carefully considered by the TFF.

“There will be opportunity for organisations and individuals to provide comment to the RRWG on rent reviews and on the factors that determine rents.” 

Rent reviews on tenanted land in Scotland leased under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (“the 1991 Act”) are currently undertaken under the terms of Section 13 of that Act. These are broadly stated and open to professional interpretation as part of the rent review process. A recent Court of Session ruling (the Moonzie farm case) made observations about the factors that are routinely taken into account in rent reviews, about their relevant order and weighting. Against this background the remit of the RRWG in relation to rent reviews for 1991 Act tenancies will be as follows:

  • To consider how 1991 Act rent reviews are presently conducted in Scotland taking different factors into account and to assess whether the advice on rent review procedures, including those in the Court of Session findings will materially alter present procedures.
  • To consider the strengths and weaknesses of the existing Scottish rent assessment, model for 1991 Act tenancies both in principle and practice.
  • To compare and contrast with the Scottish model for 1991 Act tenancies with any comparable alternative models, including that set out in the English Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, and to consider whether they would provide material differences in their outcome assessment.
  • (a) To consider Section 13 of the 1991 Act and related rent review matters in light of the RRWG findings;
    (b) To make recommendations, including those which may clarify and improve the operation of the system without changing current policy and any which would require a change in policy to implement; and
    (c) To explain the reasoning behind any recommendations in the context of the TFF’s objective of promoting a vibrant tenanted sector, which will encourage the letting of land in Scotland.

The members of the Rent Review Working Group are:
Henry Graham (RRWG Chairman)   Henry Graham has career-long experience in Scottish Agriculture. After early appointments as an Agricultural Adviser in the Western Isles and in the Lothians, and as a Manager of a College Farm in Sutherland, was appointed to the Clydesdale Bank where he worked for twenty-eight years in various agribusiness roles, becoming one of the banks eight Business Executive Leaders in the UK. He has held a wide range of public and industry appointments. He is presently a Board Member of Quality Meat Scotland and is a Director of the Royal highland Centre Ltd; until recently a Director of SAC. He has served as a member of the Royal and Highland Agricultural Society’s Executive Committee for six years and was the Society’s Vice President in 2001.He has managed his own farm business for the past thirty years.  

John Ross   John Ross, CBE is widely recognised for his contributions to agriculture and rural affairs. He was elected Vice President of the NFUS in 1985 and was President from 1990-96. He is currently Chairman of the Moredun Foundation; Commissioner for the Northern Lighthouse Board; Chairman of the Programme Board for Prisoner Health Chairman of Care Farming Scotland; Chairman of the Expert Forum on Future Cost and Responsibility Sharing in Animal Health; and Deputy Lieutenant of Wigtownshire.  At various times, he has served as a Meat and Livestock Commissioner; Chairman of Scotch Quality Beef and Lamb Association; Chairman of NHS Dumfries and Galloway; Chairman of the Moredun Research Institute; and a non-executive Director of the NFU Mutual. He continues to farm with his family at Low Auchenree, Portpatrick.        

Ian Duncan Millar   Ian Duncan Millar, MBE (for services to agriculture) is a well-respected farmer and businessman who farms at Tirinie Farm, Kenmore, Aberfeldy, Perthshire. He is a family man, who farms 320-acre Tirinie four miles west of Aberfeldy and also a hill farm with ewes at Wester Tullich to the south of Loch Tay. After time with the Young Farmers, he progressed into the National Farmers’ Union. He was a founder member and chairman for 12 years of the influential Farmers’ Assurance group for cattle and sheep. He oversaw the transition from the Scottish Quality Beef and Lamb Association to Quality Meat Scotland.  After leaving the QMS he was a Director of the Moredun Research Institute.  Ian has also been a past President of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association.  He is the Scottish Director of the National Fallen Stock Company and Chairman of the Highland Glen Lamb Marketing Group.  He is an agricultural graduate from Aberdeen University, member of RICS and is a land agent. 

John Mitchell   John Mitchell is a partner in Anderson Strathern's Land Resources department. He is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in agricultural law and also recognised as a 'Leader in their field' for Agriculture & Rural Affairs (Scotland) by law directory Chambers UK 2012. He is secretary of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association.  He specialises in the purchase, sale and lease of all types of rural property. He also advises on agricultural law (including dispute resolution), sporting and fishing rights, minerals, rural development and diversification and alternative energy projects.
His client base ranges from private individuals to major estate owners. From a farming background he brings a practical and informed approach to all his dealings and has a genuine understanding of the challenges facing rural land managers.  John graduated LLB (Hons) from Aberdeen University in 1993. He joined Anderson Strathern as an associate in 2000 and was assumed as a partner in 2002.

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 58/12

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