Land Reform (Scotland) Bill Must Deliver Balance Between Landlords and Tenants

NFU Scotland has used an evidence session in the Scottish Parliament on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill to call for it to deliver balance between the rights of tenants and landlords to secure a healthy and vibrant tenanted sector in Scotland.

In its parliamentary process, the Bill is currently at Stage 1 with NFU Scotland joining other stakeholders to give evidence to the Net Zero, Energy and Transport (NZET) committee on Part 2 of the Land Reform Bill which relates to the leasing of land and the provision of agricultural tenancies.

NFU Scotland will give separate evidence at a later date on Part 1 of the Bill, which relates to large land holdings: management and transfer of ownership.

In her evidence, NFU Scotland’s Head of Policy Gemma Cooper stressed the need for balance between the rights of landlords and tenants and urged Scottish Government not to implement provisions that could introduce more complexity to what is already a hugely complex area.

NFU Scotland also highlighted the need to consider the availability of land for future letting by the next generation of Scottish farmers.

Speaking after the session, Gemma Cooper said, ‘NFU Scotland believes in a healthy and vibrant tenanted sector in Scotland.

“A key point for NFU Scotland is that let land is a vital entry point for the next generation of farmers but the amount of it available to those who want to get a start in our industry continues to decline. That must be tackled.

“Much of the Bill is focussed on addressing issues around secure tenancies and this is an important step forward for tenants and landlords involved in these types of agreement.

“We also took the opportunity to express concern that some of the proposals, as drafted, do not have the correct balance or clarity.

“We believe that workable solutions can be achieved if Scottish Government works with stakeholders such as NFUS through the Tenant Farming Advisory Forum (TFAF). The right balance on provisions such as this will be critical to ensure that let land is available in the future.”

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