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STFA welcomes Commissioner’s intervention in amnesty debate.

STFA welcomes Commissioner’s intervention in amnesty debate.

STFA welcomes Commissioner’s intervention in amnesty debate.

STFA has welcomed Tenant Farming Commissioner’s intervention in the amnesty debate.

The Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh has urged both landlords and tenants to work together to make the most of the waygo amnesty.  In commenting that time is running out for those who wish to make use of the amnesty Bob McIntosh said:

“The onus to complete the amnesty process is on both the tenant farmer and the landlord, and I would encourage all parties to ensure the process is completed before the deadline.

“It can take time to pull together all the evidence a tenant farmer may need to submit through an amnesty notice and to agree the list with the landowner.

“I have a Code of Practice which outlines the behaviour expected by all parties. It emphasises the importance of having a site meeting to help move the process along.

“Once tenant and landlord have assembled and shared information for the origin and eligibility of claimed improvements, a site meeting is the best way to see and discuss any disputed items and to reach agreement without the need for endless back and forward correspondence.

“Everyone needs to work together to make the most of the valuable opportunity this amnesty provides.”

The Code of Practice, guidance and templates produced by the Tenant Farming Commissioner, together with Scottish Tenant Farmers Association, NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, CAAV and SAAVA explains how the amnesty works and how landlords and tenants can work together to agree a list of tenants improvements which may be eligible for compensation at waygo. More information can be found at landcommission.gov.scot/tenant-farming.

STFA warns tenants against factors running down amnesty clock

STFA warns tenants against factors running down amnesty clock

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

25th February 2020

STFA warns tenants against factors running down amnesty clock

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is warning tenant farmers to be on their guard against landlords or their agents if they suspect them of using delaying tactics in an attempt to “run down the clock” before the amnesty period finishes on June 12th. With only 3 months to go before the tenants’ amnesty on improvements expires, STFA has been contacted by tenants becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress being made in finalising their amnesties by landlords or factors who appear to be deliberately awkward or officious in an attempt to slow down amnesty negotiations.

The amnesty is an important provision introduced in the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2016 which allows for certain past improvements carried out by the tenant to become eligible for end of tenancy compensation despite missing notices or consents. The 3 year amnesty period, during which a tenant may notify his landlord of the works carried out on the farm which he wishes to be registered as improvements, expires on 13th June 2020. STFA has stressed the importance of the amnesty as not only being essential for agreeing what will be eligible for compensation at waygo, but also essential for the new rent test and for clarifying who owns what for the benefit of future generations.

Commenting on the situation STFA Director Angus McCall said; “Unfortunately the uptake of the amnesty continues to be slow and there will be a large number of tenants who will miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity, despite the efforts of STFA. It is, therefore deeply disappointing that we are being approached by so many who, having put a great deal of time and effort into completing their amnesties over the last couple of years, are now finding it difficult to bring negotiations to a conclusion and complete the amnesty.

“Following discussions with tenants and land agents, we are convinced that amnesty discussions are being deliberately hampered in an attempt to run down the clock and in doing so, there may be breaches of the Code of Practice which should be referred to the Tenant Farming Commissioner without delay.

“The Code of Practice, reinforced by supplementary guidance, clearly sets down guidelines on how both parties should behave in amnesty discussions and defines breaches of the code which should be referred to the Commissioner. Common breaches include a lack of co-operation and sharing of information between parties, the unwillingness of land agents to visit the farm and discuss improvements on site and a lack of communication prolonging discussions much longer than the recommended 9 months. Stalling tactics seem to have increased over the last couple of months as the deadline approaches with landlords’ agents “gilding the lily” by demanding detailed information, well beyond what is necessary to establish the existence and eligibility of improvements and who paid for them.

“The Amnesty was the brainchild of Scottish Lands and Estates and continues to have their full backing, and it was anticipated that the spirit of the amnesty would be respected by landlords’ agents, sadly this has not always been the case. Time is now of the essence and if tenants believe they are being obstructed by the actions of landlords or agents, they should act immediately and not be nervous about referring matter to Bob McIntosh the Tenant Farming Commissioner. Experience has shown that the Commissioner’s intervention has frequently resolved an impasse without disturbing relationships between the parties.

“Tenants should also remember that all is not lost if they have not managed to finalise their amnesty agreements by 12th June. They still have the option to serve a formal amnesty notice on their landlord. However, in order to do so, they will have to have already compiled a list of eligible improvements along with supporting evidence. This will tie them and their landlords into an inflexible formal process with statutory timelines, less room for manoeuvre and if they fail to reach an agreement, the Scottish Land Court will be the ultimate arbiter.

 

STFA welcomes cap on convergence payments

STFA welcomes cap on convergence payments

News Release

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

23rd January 2020

 

STFA welcomes cap on convergence payments

 

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing confirming that convergence funding payments of £80 million and an additional £10 million for Regions 2 and 3 will be made to farmers and crofters by the end of March 2020.

This represents the distribution of the first tranche of the £160 million convergence money promised to Scotland by the UK Government following 6 years of lobbying by Scottish farming interests. The remaining £70 million is due to be distributed in the next financial year and will be paid by the end of March 2021, once delivered by the UK Government. Of this £70 million, £42 million may be used to maintain next year’s LFASS payments.

Not including addition payments of £13 million towards the LFA and £15 million towards the beef calf and sheep coupled schemes, the remainder of the £90 million due by the end of March 2020 represents a top up of £15.86 per hectare for Region 1, £28.03 per hectare for Region 2, and £11.87 for Region 3.

A cap of £55,000 is to be applied to the total combined convergence totals which is expected to affect around 80 businesses in Scotland.

Following the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “We now have clarity as to when the convergence funding payments to farmers and crofters will be made, which is welcome news given the uncertainties faced by Scottish agriculture resulting from Brexit. The Cabinet Secretary has adhered to the spirit of convergence and ensured that the funding will go to where it was originally intended.”

“Having argued strongly in favour of capping payments, we welcome the cap in principle. However, capping convergence payments at £55,000 will affect very few producers and we believe a lower cap at £35,000 would have given a fairer distribution of funds bearing in mind the minimal activity requirements for BPS claims. To put into perspective, at a level of £55,000 the cap will only affect Region 1 businesses if over 3,400 ha in size, or over 1,900 ha for Region 2 and 4,600 ha for Region 3.”

“Some of the convergence funding will be used to maintain LFASS payments for this year and next. With such a large proportion of Scotland’s farm businesses located in remote and marginal areas it is vital that the LFASS budget is maintained until a new replacement scheme is introduced.”

 

 

Amnesty key to future of farm tenancies

Amnesty key to future of farm tenancies

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

1st December 2019

 

Amnesty key to future of farm tenancies

STFA warns more than half of tenants still to make a start

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) has warned that more than half of Scotland’s tenant farmers are in danger of not completing the amnesty on tenant’s improvements. The amnesty, initiated by Scottish Land and Estates, has been hailed as one of the main benefits to tenants in the 2016 Land Reform Act. It created a mechanism enabling landlords and tenants to make a definitive record of improvements even if proper procedures were not followed. The amnesty began on 13th June 2017 and will expire in just over 6 months on 12th June 2020. Experience has shown that the amnesty process is likely to take at least 6 months so anyone not making a start in the next few weeks is likely to run of time.

In issuing his stark warning, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said; “We have spent the last week meeting and talking to tenants up and down the country and it has become plain that although most of those who attended the meetings had either finished their amnesties or were working at them, they are in the minority, and the vast bulk of tenants have not even made a start.

“The importance of the amnesty cannot be stressed enough. Not only is it a once in a lifetime opportunity to make good some of the mistakes of the past and ensure that investments made by generations of tenants are officially recognised, but it is also key to using many of the new provisions in the 2016 Act and to the future of your tenancy.

“For example; an agreed list of tenants improvements and other works are crucial for transferring the tenancy to the next generation and for receiving end of tenancy compensation; the new rent test is based on what the holding can produce with what the landlord provided and will depend on an agreed list of improvements and fixtures so they can be disregarded; and, thirdly, knowing who owns what is vital in the event that either the tenant buys out the landlord’s interest or vice versa.

“In short, there will never be another amnesty and future generations may will live to regret that their forebears neglected this golden opportunity to put everything in order. We would strongly urge all tenants to make a start immediately.”

STFA ‘Planning for the Future’ meetings continue this week with Bute on Monday 2nd (Victoria Hotel), Inverness on Wed. 4th (Jury’s Inn) and Thainstone on Thurs. 5th (Glengarioch Suite AMN). All meetings start at 7.30pm with Davidson and Robertson, the Tenant Farming Commission and Shepherd and Wedderburn speaking, accompanied by Ian Davidson the National Adviser to the new Land Matching Service. All tenants are welcome and non-members have the opportunity to join on the night.

 

GOVERNMENT URGED TO ALLOCATE CONVERGENCE MONEY WISELY AND FAIRLY

GOVERNMENT URGED TO ALLOCATE CONVERGENCE MONEY WISELY AND FAIRLY

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

6th November 2019

GOVERNMENT URGED TO ALLOCATE CONVERGENCE MONEY WISELY AND FAIRLY

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is urging the Scottish Government to think carefully before allocating the hard won convergence money which is causing so much controversy. The Cabinet Secretary has a difficult balancing act in distributing the new funding fairly and managing the expectations of different sectors of the industry, particularly the crofting sector who believe they are not receiving due benefit from the government proposals.  It now appears that, thanks to the vigorous lobbying of the Crofting Federation, an attempt is being to address their concerns by introducing a further £10 million from the second tranche of £80 million to be distributed to those farming in the most marginal areas in 2019/20.

Commenting on the situation STFA Director Angus McCall said: “The Scottish government, has now put some more flesh on the bones, of the proposals for distributing the convergence money. As anticipated, they have not pleased everybody, although they will go some way towards helping many in Region 1 whose low historic payments were setting them at a disadvantage during the convergence period.  As has been recognised, it is only fair that the bulk of the funding is delivered to those in the more marginal areas and the Cabinet Secretary has moved swiftly to address concerns expressed by the Crofting Federation, that active farmers and crofters in Regions 2 & 3 were not receiving their rightful share.

“However, the current proposals only relate to the first tranche of £80 million and we look forward to discussing how make the best use of the next £80 million and we understand that will include discussion on the design of a replacement for the LFASS.

“As well as being seen as compensation for having had £160 million withheld, the convergence money has the potential to give the industry a one-off financial boost at a time when it is most needed and consequently it must be spent wisely on those who will derive most benefit from it, and that means excluding the non-active. To achieve this, we would like to see convergence monies in Region 2 & 3 land being restricted to farmers and crofters in receipt of LFASS, thus ensuring non-active farmers or land managers do not benefit from the windfall payments.  In effect this would include land, currently in receipt of single farm payments, which has been or is in the process of being converted to forestry or about to be planted with trees, land with no stock and slipper farmers.

“STFA believes that the higher rates of convergence payments, especially on large areas in Regions 2 & 3 would give rise to undeserved over-compensation and has urged Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, to introduce a cap on payments.

“STFA has also spoken to the Cabinet Secretary, to press him to regard the convergence money as an opportunity to establish a fund to address the anomaly of new entrants who were unable to draw down entitlements from the National Reserve. These new entrants have been operating at a disadvantage without the benefit of support payments and an injection of cash would provide a welcome cash boost to help develop their businesses.

STFA WELCOMES CONVERGENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

STFA WELCOMES CONVERGENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

29th October 2019

STFA WELCOMES CONVERGENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed today’s announcement by the Scottish Government that the first £80 million of the £160 million of convergence money, historically due to Scotland, has been allocated and will be distributed to active farmers and crofters with a focus on those farming in the uplands, hills and islands. Further details on how the funding is to be distributed are to be made available in due course.

Commenting on the news, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said; “This news is obviously very welcome at a time when agriculture faces huge uncertainty about future trade, availability of markets and support arrangements. The likelihood of an imminent general election only adds to the confusion, especially as current support payments have only been guaranteed until the end of the current parliament and the length of any future transition period is still undecided.

“This money represents compensation from under-payment of Pillar 1 support payments and it is generally accepted that it should stay in Pillar 1. However, as expected, there are differing views as to who should receive the top-up payment and the Cabinet Secretary has some difficult decisions to make which will not please everyone.  There is little detail in the announcement of how the first tranche of convergence money will be distributed and whether or not the second installment of £80 million will be distributed in the same manner.

“STFA agrees that the bulk of the convergence payments should be received by those farming in the more marginal less favoured areas, but care should be taken to ensure that they are only distributed to farmers and crofters who are actively farming the land and are in the most need. Holders of large tracts of land with minimal activity should be excluded or at least have their payments capped, to avoid over- compensation.  Moreover, convergence payments should be denied to land, currently in receipt of single farm payments, which has been or is in the process of being converted to forestry.  Most of these aims could be achieved by using the LFASS mechanism as a delivery template.

“STFA is writing to Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, to suggest that this should be seen as an opportunity to address the anomaly of new entrants who were unable to draw down entitlements from the National Reserve. These new entrants have been operating at a disadvantage without the benefit of support payments and an injection of cash would provide a welcome cash boost to help develop their businesses.”

SUCCESSION HANDBOOK WELCOMED BY TENANTS

SUCCESSION HANDBOOK WELCOMED BY TENANTS

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

26th August 2019

 

 

SUCCESSION HANDBOOK WELCOMED BY TENANTS

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) warmly welcomes today’s publication of the latest Guidance on Succession from the Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, which summarises some of the legal basics and outlines the ways in which an agricultural tenancy can be passed on to another person.

Succession planning is important to all farming businesses, especially to tenant farmers who are not only faced with handing over the business assets to the next generation but also have to consider the best way to pass on the lease on the tenanted holding. Traditionally the farming lease could only be transferred to a restricted group of near relatives following the death of the tenant. The succession process presented a number of tripwires for the unwary and gave the landlord additional grounds to object to the tenant for up to two years. In short it provided an opportunity to take advantage of a break in the lease and explore the possibility of taking the land back in hand, and without taking expert legal advice, a number of tenanted families lost the secure family tenancy.

The position has dramatically altered since the 2003 Act with a number of reforms to succession, culminating in the 2016 Land Reform Act which have widened the class of people who can now inherit a 1991 tenancy. The process of assignation and succession has been simplified and many of the obstacles removed, including the infamous “two man rule” restricting the size of holdings being transferred.

Commenting on the new Guidance, STFA Director, Angus McCall said; “Succession planning and encouraging the next generation into agriculture is very much top of the agenda just now. Changes in tenancy law over the past couple of decades have broadened the scope of succession and simplified the process of reducing the average age of the tenant farmer. Gone are the days when elderly tenants found themselves “stuck” in their tenancies, having to wait till after their day before passing on their lease and then only to a small group of close relatives.

“The straitjacket of succession has now been loosened and tenants can now transfer their farming businesses at the time of their choosing to a much wider class of relative, allowing them to step aside and avoid many of the pitfalls which can still exist in relying on succession after death. Lifetime assignation of a tenancy has been one of the success stories of tenancy reform with dozens of older farmers now able to enjoy a well-earned retirement with the next generation safely ensconced in the tenanted family farm.

“Transferring a tenancy is still complicated and requires good legal advice, but Bob McIntosh’s Guide to the Transfer of Tenancies by Assignation and Succession will greatly assist succession planning and prove to be a valuable handbook to all tenants as they plan the best way to pass their tenancies on to the next generation.”

STFA – TAXATION NOT LEGISLATION KEY TO SUCCESS OF TENANTED SECTOR

STFA – TAXATION NOT LEGISLATION KEY TO SUCCESS OF TENANTED SECTOR

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

23rd July 2019

 

STFA – TAXATION NOT LEGISLATION KEY TO SUCCESS OF TENANTED SECTOR

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is calling on the Scottish Government and the agricultural industries on both sides of the border to join forces in lobbying the UK government to bring forward changes to the taxation regime to stimulate a more resilient and sustainable tenanted sector with greater opportunities for new entrants and progressing farmers.

DEFRA has been consulting on reforms to the tenanted sector in England and Wales but have omitted consider the potential impact of taxation changes on the letting of land, despite strong pressure from the industry. Taxation is generally reserved to the UK government but there is general agreement that changes to the taxation regime could benefit the tenanted sector and should be included in the DEFRA reforms.

STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson commented: “Taxation reform rather than legislative change is key to encouraging more letting of land, increasing opportunities for new entrants and increasing the productivity and the efficiency of agricultural land use. Scotland’s tenanted sector has seen some major changes over the last couple of decades some of which are still to be implemented and, despite some negative comments, there is evidence that the new types of tenancy are becoming more popular with more land being let for periods of more than 10 years. Existing 1991 secure tenancies are in good heart and benefitting from the new measures in the recent Land Reform Act encouraging succession, inward investment and innovation leading to the sector becoming more resilient, more profitable and more sustainable. There are also regular movements of retiring tenants leaving the industry creating opportunities for new tenants if conditions for letting were right.

“The lack of land to rent is a UK wide problem, with similar frustrations felt by new entrants, largely because of their inability to compete with existing farming businesses. Despite the rhetoric from some of the landed interests extolling the benefits of freedom of contract, the tenanted sector in England and Wales has remained largely static over the last 15 years in spite of the introduction of Farm Business Tenancies in 1995.

Writing in the STFA Newsletter, TFA’s George Dunn has also commented that the short-term nature of FBTs has failed to improve efficiency within UK agriculture. ‘Over the nearly 25 years of the legislation the length of term on an FBT has averaged just under four years. Worryingly, fully equipped holdings, which would be expected to be let for much longer terms, have an average duration of less than 10 years. As we approach half of all land let being under FBT’s it is worrying, to say the least, that 85% of new farm tenancies are let for terms of 5 years or under.’

Mr Dunn continues, ‘The short-term nature of agricultural tenancies is holding back progression, investment, sustainable land use and productivity on farms. With much higher demand for farmland than supply, landlords can offer short-terms, for high rents at very little risk whilst at the same time pocketing generous and unconstrained tax benefits which the TFA argues must be addressed.’

“The TFA puts the blame for failures in the tenanted sector down to the imbalance of supply and demand of land for farmland, enabling landlords to offer short-term lets for high rents

whilst at the same time pocketing generous and unconstrained tax benefits which the TFA argues must be addressed.”

STFA agrees with the TFA and is calling for some small and generally fiscally neutral taxation changes which could make all the difference to the letting of land:

  1. Restricting the generous, 100% Agricultural Property Relief from Inheritance Tax to those prepared to let for 10 years or more.
  2. Clamping down on those landowners using share farming, contract farming, share partnerships and grazing licences as thin veneers of trading activity and as vehicles for aggressive tax avoidance.
  3. Offering landlords prepared to let land for 10 years or more the ability to declare their income as if it was trading income for taxation purposes, rather than unearned income.

The above tax measures are all reserved to Westminster, however, it is within the scope of devolved powers for the Scottish Government to:

4) Reform Land Business Transaction Tax (LBTT) to end the discrimination against longer tenancies, and;

5) Ensure that landlords on publicly owned land where the government has some influence, such as the Crown Estate to use 10 year + MLDTs as the default.

STFA believes that as we contemplate entering a post Brexit era, the time is right to modernise the tax regime to bolster the tenanted sector by creating opportunities for new entrants, encourage longer term tenancies for progressing farmers and build on the potential of the current structure of land tenure rather than look to creating yet more tenancy legislation and further uncertainty as has been suggested.

 

 

Tenants urged to act as amnesty deadline approaches

Tenants urged to act as amnesty deadline approaches

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

12th June 2019

Tenants urged to act as amnesty deadline approaches

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is warning all tenant farmers that the countdown to the amnesty deadline has begun in earnest and warns that with only one year to go, tenants stand to lose a lifetime opportunity to safeguard the future of their tenancies unless they act immediately.

The amnesty is one of the provisions of the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2016 and allows for certain past improvements carried out by the tenant to become eligible for waygo compensation despite missing notices or consents. The amnesty only lasts for a 3 year period during which a tenant may notify his landlord of the works carried out on the farm which he wishes to be registered as improvements. The amnesty expires on 13th June 2020.

STFA has stressed the importance of the amnesty as not only being essential for agreeing what will be eligible for compensation at waygo, but also essential for the new rent test and for clarifying who owns what for the benefit of future generations.

Commenting on the urgency of the situation, STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said; “The amnesty is an incredible opportunity for tenants to rectify past mistakes and omissions in their paperwork which, in the normal course of events, would disallow them from receiving waygo compensation for many of the improvements made over the course of the tenancy. For many people this could be the difference between coming out of the tenancy with a comfortable nest egg or leaving with very little bar the value of your stock. Even if you have no intention of giving up the tenancy it makes sense to get everything in order and the amnesty will be essential for future rent reviews to ensure tenants are not charged rent on their own improvements. Tenants should remember that the amnesty has the blessing of the landlords, after all, it was their idea!

“So, it is worrying to hear that there are so many tenants who have not even begun to think about taking part in the amnesty. Anecdotally it would appear that only a couple of hundred out of 4,000 – 5,000 tenants will have even made a start and, unless they get going in the next few weeks, they will literally run out of time. We estimate that on average it will take at least six months to negotiate and agree the amnesty even with a fair wind and a cooperative landlord. If agreement cannot be reached before the deadline, the tenant will have to consider serving a formal notice, which triggers the official process, which is bound by strict timelines and still requires all the evidence and justification up front which means there is no time to waste.

“We would advise any tenant unsure how to proceed to visit STFA Stand 465 on Avenue 4 at the Highland Show where there will be professional advice on hand and the Tenant farming Commissioner will be present on Thursday and Friday afternoon or contact the Land Commission on Stand 461. STFA and the Tenant Farming Commissioner are at the show to help, so come and see us. Remember that you must act now as time is short and there is NO chance of an extension to the amnesty. Use it or you will lose it!”

STFA welcomes the latest release of public sector land for the creation of starter farms

STFA welcomes the latest release of public sector land for the creation of starter farms

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

                                                                                                                    30th May 2019

 Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes the latest release of public sector land for the creation of starter farms

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes the news from Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing that more than 6,400 ha of publicly owned land will be made available to new entrants and young farmers looking to grow their businesses. Much of this has come from Forestry and Land Scotland’s portfolio of purchased farm which is not suited to tree planting.

This is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to make available publicly owned land for letting to new entrants and the amount of available land from public bodies is expected to increase, with 2,800 ha already having been identified on the Forestry Estate.

Commenting on the initiative, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: ‘Creating opportunities for new entrants to get into farming can only be good news. Historically, Scottish new entrants have been at a disadvantage compared with south of the border where over 2,500 County Council owned farms have traditionally provided an entry to the tenanted sector.  However, Scottish Government are making progress by finding farming opportunities on publicly owned land, an initiative STFA campaigned for over a decade ago.’

‘It is important to remember that it is not just starter farms which are required, but also the next rung on the farming ladder, so that having built up capital and stock these new entrants can progress on to larger holdings. It is reassuring to see that there has been a good uptake of the new style limited duration leases (SLDTs and LDTs) in Scotland over recent years, with an increase in land let under SLDTs and LDTs of over 140,000 ha since 2014.  Clearly there are opportunities, but it is difficult for those starting out to compete with established owner-occupiers and many farms are let privately without being put on the open market.

‘However, there is still more that can be done to create further rungs in the farming ladder for those coming out of starter farms: The important Relinquishing and Assignation provision of the Land Reform Act 2016 is yet to be commenced which will work to allow secure tenants without successors to retire by assigning their leases to new entrants and developing farmers should their landlord not wish to take the holding back in hand.  DEFRA are currently consulting on a similar proposal for England and Wales as part of a package to improve their tenanted sector.’

‘Further improvements to the tenanted sector could be brought about by reviewing the fiscal framework within which landowners operate. With fiscal policy largely reserved for Westminster, the Tenant Farmers Association of England and Wales have identified a number of fiscal changes needed to encourage more land lettings and longer term lengths.  Ireland identified a similar problem and in 2015 introduced tax changes to encourage longer lettings which are already having a positive effect.’