Scottish Tenant Farmers

News Release

4th November 2015




The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is pleased to hear that, in the wake of intense public pressure, government officials are at last trying to find ways of intervening in the impending eviction of tenant, Andrew Stoddart whose tenancy is due to come to an end on 28th November.

Officials are hoping to put the eviction on hold to allow Andrew Stoddart to take part in the mediation process along with the other seven tenants in the same situation.  The Stoddart family are the only ones whose homes and livelihoods face imminent threat following their landlord’s (the Colstoun Trust) decision to accelerate the end of the tenancy through the Land Court.  It is hoped that the Colstoun Trust will also be prepared to work with government officials to extend Mr Stoddart’s tenancy and to enter into negotiations to provide him with a realistic and fair end of tenancy compensation package.

Commenting on the situation, STFA director Angus McCall said; “The Scottish Government lawyers have treated these tenants poorly over the last couple of years and it is only now, as the sands run out for the Stoddart family and public pressure grows, that officials have begun to take action.

“No one, particularly the Colstoun Trust can now ignore the wave of public sympathy that “Scotland’s shame” has attracted through petitions, social media and widespread press coverage.  The plight of the family has struck a powerful chord and the online petition looks as though it will attract in excess of a staggering 15,000 signatures.

“The prospect of a tenant farmer with young children being removed against his will from his farm in mid-career has horrified the general public, especially when it appears that he will not only lose his home and livelihood, but may also be left with very little for by way of end of tenancy compensation for all the years he has spent investing in and looking after the farm.

“Scotland’s tenancy system has had a rocky and desperate journey over the last decade but this episode has highlighted some of the worst aspects.  Putting aside all the legal arguments, it cannot be right that a tenant can be faced with not only the loss of his farm and future prospects but also the value of investments and improvements he has made he has made over 22 years of being a tenant, to the undoubted benefit of the landlord who inherits a windfall.

“We are pleased to hear that government is seeking ways of assisting Andrew Stoddart in his current situation, but it must bear in mind that this is not the end of the matter.  There are another 7 tenants in the same boat and government must ensure that the commitments made to them are honoured through mediation and compensation packages to allow all the tenants to get on with the rest of their lives.”


UPDATE 10th November

Following the demonstration at the Scottish Parliament when the petition in support of the Stoddart family was formally handed over to members of the RACCE Committee, STFA issued the statement below on behalf of Mr Stoddart in response to the comments made by the Colstoun Trust this morning:

Mr Stoddart regards this latest statement issued by Colstoun Trust as inaccurate.  Mr Stoddart’s advisers are still in dialogue with the Colstoun Trust through the offices of the Scottish Government in response to offers of assistance from Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead and hope to begin to mediate a settlement shortly.  Only one proposal for compensation has been made by the Trust and that required immediate removal from the farm and an unacceptably low offer of compensation.  Mr Stoddart has not yet received a formal offer of an interim payment to account for future waygoing claims and it is understood, through informal channels, that this offer is conditional on the farm being vacated on 28th November.    The offer to remain in the farm cottage comes as news to Mr Stoddart.

Mr Stoddart would also like to correct persistent claims that the tenancy of Colstoun Farm was intended to be of fixed duration.  The lease signed by both parties was for an initial term of 15 years to continue year by year hereafter until terminated by either side.  The expectation at the time, was that this lease, in common with most Limited Partnership tenancies signed at the time, would continue for the foreseeable future.  It was also confirmed verbally by the factor of the day that the tenancy would in all likelihood be extended. Mr Stoddart has farmed the land accordingly.

Moreover, Mr Stoddart would also like to make it clear that the date of quitting the holding was formally set by the Land Court and was not willingly agreed.