17 May 2000
Scots tenancy plan a ‘landlords’ charter’

By FWi staff

PROPOSALS unveiled by the Scottish Executive to reform farm tenancies north of the border could amount to a landlords charter, farmers have claimed.

The Agricultural Holdings White Paper was released by Ross Finnie, the Scottish minister for rural affairs, on Wednesday (17 March).

The National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) had wanted the document to contain proposals for a minimum farm tenancy period of 21 years.

But it is understood the document contains no plans to legislate for a minimum tenancy – a move which dismayed NFUS vice-president John Kinnaird.

“The Union wants to see more letting of land to tenants. But this must not be at the expense of compromising existing security of tenure.”

Mr Kinnaird said it was a matter of serious concern that the Scottish Executive have not stipulated a minimum period for such a tenancy.

“This is just like the farm business tenancy introduced in England and Wales in September 1995 and could only be described as a landlords charter.”

Mr Kinnaird said the NFUS was having discussions with the Scottish Landowners Federation (SLF) to find a compromise over the tenancy period.

The Union favoured 21 years but would consider 15 years, he said.

“The SLFs preference is for 10 years. We would look to the SLF to reflect this spirit of compromise.”