News Release

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

26th November


The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association can announce that a settlement has been reached between Andrew Stoddart and his landlord, the Colstoun Trust. The terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement, but it is understood that agreement was reached last night following a mediation brokered by the Scottish Government.

Mr Stoddart’s was due to quit his holding on 28th November, but following intense media coverage and public interest the Colstoun Trust agreed a couple of weeks ago that the Stoddart family would be able to remain in the farm cottage after the end of the tenancy. It is now understood that offer is confirmed until the end of January.

Andrew Stoddart has made the following statement: “Following eleventh hour mediation, we have come to a settlement with the Colstoun Trust. This has been done to protect my family from further anxiety. A short period of occupancy has been agreed to allow us to remove our animals and dispose of our equipment to better advantage.

“After 22 years, against considerable odds, I have left this farm better than I found it. It has been a hard struggle at times, and I want to pay tribute to my wife Claire who has shared the burden with me. We probably should have left many years ago when difficulties with the landlords began, but we never suspected it would end like this. We thought the 2003 Act had changed our lives, only to see our hopes dashed by the remedial order of 2014. The laws which allow landlords to arbitrarily end tenancies in order to access farming subsidies directly need amended

“All we ever wanted was just to farm this place and bring up our girls in this community which we love. I would also like to thank my two loyal employees for sticking by me for many years, and especially this year when the end was in sight. I wish them both well for the future. I would also like to thank the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association and my professional advisers.

“And finally, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us over this difficult time, and helped get us to a better place. Three special women – Michelle Wood, Jen Stout and Lesley Riddoch – have gone out of their way to help us in our fight for justice. This would not have happened without their support and pressure from everyone. We have made many good friends in the Haddington area who we will miss. We will leave East Lothian with many happy memories, on our way to a new beginning as yet unknown.”

Welcoming the news, STFA director, Angus McCall said: “This last minute agreement will be welcome to the Stoddart family, especially in the run up to Christmas. However, if the aftermath of the Salvesen Riddell Remedial Order had been managed better, Andrew Stoddart would have been able to mediate an agreement with his landlord and the Scottish government a year ago and the situation would never have gone as far as this.

“We are grateful to the RACCE committee for their support and it is largely due to their efforts and public pressure that this mediated settlement has taken place at all. We hope lessons will be learnt and the remaining seven tenants and families in the same situation will not be expected to suffer as much worry and stress as the Stoddarts.

“There are still a large number of tenants on short term agreements who are just as vulnerable to having their tenure cut short at the drop of a hat. This insecurity is something that must be tackled as Scotland contemplates land and tenancy reform over the next few years.”