News Release

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

 21th January 2015


 The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association will be taking to the road next week embarking on a round of meetings to discuss tenancy and land reform proposals with its tenant farming members.  Top of the agenda will be the long awaited report of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group which is expected to be released next week.

 Speaking ahead of the meetings STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said; “The publication of the AHLRG’s report heralds the next phase in the long journey to reform the tenanted sector.  STFA will be using these meetings to outline the Group’s proposals for reform to members and listen to their views before making detailed comment on the many recommendations for change.

 “Although the Cabinet Secretary has said that the report will be radical and far reaching it will inevitably disappoint some and satisfy others.  However, the industry has spent more than a decade agonising over tenancy law and endlessly discussing the same issues that dominated the debate in 2003.  Our current tenancy legislation is not delivering and it is now time to use the AHLRG recommendations as a stimulus for much needed change.

 “We expect the report to reflect the ideas contained in the AHLRG’s Interim Report.  In particular we would like to see recommendations that will provide for fairer and simpler rent reviews, removal of the uncertainty linked to tenants improvements, the establishment of full and proper waygo compensation for tenant’s improvements and the tenant’s interest in his lease, the widening of family succession, and improving the levels of investment on tenanted holdings.  We also look forward to the creation of a tenancy commission or ombudsman to oversee, regulate and see fair play in the sector.  However, we have some concern that fears about non-compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) may prevent the recommendation of some enabling measures that have been up for discussion in the past year.

 “STFA will be using the meetings to discuss the Scottish Government’s proposals for land reform.  The consultation on the “Future of Land Reform in Scotland” closes on 10th February and STFA will be seeking views from members as well as urging them to respond individually.

 “We will also be lobbying the government to ensure that it continues with the proposal to include changes to agricultural holdings law in the Land Reform Bill.  We are concerned that there is a high probability that a stand-alone agricultural holdings bill would be postponed to the next parliamentary session due to the pressure on the parliamentary timetable.  Such a delay is not an option for the tenanted sector.

 STFA expects the AHLRG report to be unveiled in parliament on Tuesday 27th January and its meetings begin the following day in St Boswells.  Membership will be available for non-members wishing to join on the night.  All tenants are urged to take part in the debate over the future shape of the tenanted sector and help ensure that we create a viable and fair tenanted sector for the next generation”

 STFA meetings take place as follows:

Borders     Buccleuch Arms The Green St Boswells    Wed  28thJan

SW              Urr Valley Hotel Castle Douglas                   Thurs 29thJan

Arran         Douglas Hotel Brodick                                   Fri  30thJan

Bute           Kingarth Hotel Ardchattan Bay                     Mon  2ndFeb

Aberdeen  Porterhouse Restaurant Thainstone           Tues   3rd Feb

Inverness  Fairways Golf Distributor Rd Inverness     Wed   4th Feb

Perth          Huntingtower Hotel Hotel Crieff Rd           Tues  10thFeb

Islay            St Columba Centre Bowmore                        Mon  16thFeb


All meetings commence at 7.30pm

 N.B These meetings are open to members and any tenant farmer wishing to join on the night