The long-awaited report on Scottish farm tenancy reform is expected to be unveiled in the Scottish Parliament next week.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, who commissioned the report, has promised it will be “radical and far-reaching”.
But the latest indications suggest that the recommendations by the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group (AHLRG) will not stray far from those contained in the interim report published last June.
A priority for the farming industry will be to ensure changes to tenancy legislation are included in the forthcoming Land Reform Bill before the end of the current parliamentary session as there are fears that a stand-alone Agricultural Holdings Bill would be delayed due to lack of parliamentary time.
Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) chairman Christopher Nicholson said the report would inevitably disappoint some and satisfy others.
“However, the industry has spent more than a decade agonising over tenancy law and endlessly discussing the same issues that dominated the debate in 2003,” he added.
“Our current tenancy legislation is not delivering and it is now time to use the AHLRG recommendations as a stimulus for much-needed change.”
The STFA has called for fairer and simpler rent reviews, the removal of the uncertainty linked to tenants’ improvements, the establishment of full and waygo compensation for tenant’s improvements and the tenant’s interest in his lease, the widening of family succession, and improving the levels of investment on tenanted holdings.
Mr Nicholson added: “We also look forward to the creation of a tenancy commission or ombudsman to oversee, regulate and see fair play in the sector.
“However, we have some concern that fears about non-compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights may prevent the recommendation of some enabling measures that have been up for discussion in the past year.”
The STFA has arranged a series of meetings around the country in the wake of the report’s publication, to discuss both tenancy and land reform before the Scottish government’s consultation on the future of land reform closes in February.
The meetings start in St Boswells on 28 January.