30 January 2015 | Online since 2003



16 April 2014|News

Agricultural holdings review opens door to change


NFU Scotland believes a complementary package of measures with an independent Land Adjudicator at its core can restore health and vibrancy to Scotland’s land tenancy sector.

The Union has called for new legal standards, robust industry codes, improved tax incentives, and low-cost dispute resolution systems. It also believes the proposed adjudicator would act as an intervention vehicle where parties – whether landlord ort tenant - fail to deliver basic standards of operation.

NFU Scotland was replying to the Cabinet Secretary-led Agricultural Holdings Review Group’s call for evidence on agricultural tenancies. NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller; Chief Executive Scott Walker and Policy Manager Gemma Thomson will give oral evidence to the group this Friday (18 April).

The Union’s Legal and Technical committee; Tenants Working Group and New Generation Group were key contributors to the submission. In addition, NFUS held nine regional meetings in recent weeks involving tenants, landowners and owner occupiers to help with evidence-gathering.

President Nigel Miller said: “A healthy and vibrant tenanted sector is vital for the future of Scottish agriculture. It underpins many established farming businesses that are the core of food production and communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

“Importantly, it also ensures that there are opportunities for those entering farming who do not own land, and can serve as a vital bolt on for existing farming businesses as they develop.

“The present review process is an opportunity to deliver significant change and a new collaborative approach. Tenure and arrangements must support and encourage investment by either party, and establish systems which see all parties share risk and reward.

“Having spent considerable time meeting many members – tenants, landlords, owner-occupiers and new entrants – it is clear that delivering positive outcomes for the tenanted sector needs a wide ranging complementary package of legal standards, industry codes, tax incentives, dispute resolution systems, and an intervention vehicle where parties fail to deliver basic standards of operation.

“In the first instance, the industry requires a robust set of codes which govern how it operates and the practices of professionals involved in it. In addition, changes to Section 13 within the current legislation could rebalance the basis of rent determination and ease some of the areas of friction within the industry. Amendments to legislation addressing issues at waygo could also go some considerable way towards achieving this. As could a new form of assignation to open up opportunities for new and developing farmers.

“We believe that a low-cost dispute resolution is required and there must also be an ability to intervene when systems fail.

“That is why we are promoting the creation of an Independent Adjudicator. Working alongside an alternative dispute resolution process, where expert determination is the preferred option, the adjudicator would monitor and encourage best practice in the tenanted sector. Crucially, it would deal with those who repeatedly fail – the ultimate sanction for failure for landlords being compulsory purchase or, if a tenant, notice to quit.

“The Cabinet Secretary-led review specifically called on respondents to examine an absolute right to buy for traditional secure 1991 agricultural tenancies, and what that would mean for land ownership and the wider economy of Scotland.

“In speaking to members, it is clear that long term personal relationships are the backbone of a successful tenanted sector and, in some parts, the relationship between landlords, tenants and third-parties involved in management and rent negotiations are fractured. Where relationships are broken, the introduction of the absolute right to buy or other forms of radical intervention are high on the agenda for tenants who feel that this offers an escape route from what they perceive to be a dysfunctional system.

“As a tool to resolve failures, absolute right to buy may be an answer to some but it has wider, significant ramifications for agriculture. Others, including many secure tenants and our New Generation, believe that the debate around an absolute right to buy can only serve to close down opportunities to access land, and stifle the development of long term letting arrangements which the Scottish farming industry badly requires for its future.

"On balance, NFUS opposes the introduction of ARTB but strongly believes a more targeted approach, built around robust codes and an Independent Adjudicator can close down chronic problems and presents a strong, positive way forward to rebuild our tenanted sector.”

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


9 January 2015
Assistant Server Manager
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our IT Team. This role can be based out of our Witham St. Hughs or Sandy Office an...

15 January 2015
Shopper Marketing Manager | Leading Chilled Foods Business | Pathway to Controller Level | London
As one of the leading chilled foods and dairy businesses in the UK this organisation has an impressive roster of category lea...

16 January 2015
Mixed Tax Assistant Manager
Property and Agriculture Sector experience would be advantageous. The main purpose of this role would be to take overall resp...

9 January 2015
Cashier & Cleaner + Various other vacancies
Folly Farm is an Equal Opportunities Employer. We have full time & part time seasonal, student & supervisory vacancie...

24 January 2015
Marketing Executive
Food, FMCG, Packaging, Dairy, Bakery, Confectionery, Marketing Analyst, Marketing, Category Marketing,. Marketing Executive, ...




Top stories you may have missed
12 November 2014 | Arable
GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops are good for the economy and can reduce the amount of pesticides u...


6 November 2014 | Cattle
Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Demand from smaller European markets has helped drive strong growth for UK ...


6 November 2014 | Agri Safety
Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

A lack of engineers, not enough people promoting the land-based industries ...


4 November 2014 | Bees and Beekeeping
Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is launching the National Pollinator ...


4 November 2014 | Arable
Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Agricultural specialists have welcomed a potential financial boost for youn...


3 November 2014 | News
Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

As retailers continue to participate in a highly competitive race to the bo...


31 October 2014 | Arable
New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New farm business income data from Defra, which focus on income from March ...


30 October 2014 | Agri Safety
Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture has remained one of the industries in which workers are most li...


29 October 2014 | Finance
UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

Prime arable land in the UK has seen a substantial year-on-year growth in p...


27 October 2014 | Arable
Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

A new mobile app for farmers able to pinpoint and identify disease, pests a...