Defra to hold consultation on agricultural tenancy reform

Defra has announced plans to hold a consultation this year on changes to agricultural tenancy legislation following a report from a tenancy reform group.

Farm minister George Eustice made the promise in November 2018 after receiving a report from the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (Trig) focusing on the implications of Brexit.

Trig is a cross-industry body comprising representatives of all the leading sector organisations, including the NFU, Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), CLA, the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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The report included: legislative changes to the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986; legislative changes to the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995; taxation changes; reform of county council smallholding estates; and government policy for new entrants and retirement.

Officials from Defra and the Welsh government are in discussions about whether this consultation should cover both England and Wales.

Agriculture Bill

Mr Eustice made the announcement on the final day of debate within the Public Bill Committee for the Agricultural Bill.

MPs discussed an amendment to provide tenants with the opportunity to require landlords to allow them to take part in the new public payments for public goods or productivity schemes.

However, this amendment, which was sought by the TFA, was not pushed to a vote.

George Dunn, TFA chief executive, explained: “This amendment would have provided a mechanism to ensure that tenant farmers are not disenfranchised from access to the new financial support mechanisms contained within the Bill.”