Auction may be the answer

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The letter printed a few weeks ago which raised fears about land reform increasing food prices deserved a reply, but none came.

A bit of Google research shows that the farm at Roxburgh mentioned in the letter was previously rented at £75 per day for a “substantial farmhouse, two cottages and extensive farm buildings, plus 600 acres of good farmland”. The new rent for all that property is £130 per day.

Land reform is about bringing long-overdue fairness to use of land in Scotland. On an open market lots of disenfranchised groups could bid for this farm at auction and would be prepared to pay much more to allow many new rural enterprises to be born. The current rents are not open market prices – why not trade tenancies at auction instead of these old anti-competitive practises?

To feed the nation we need to enable the most efficient farmers to acquire land. These businesses would be able to pay twice as much, still be profitable and keep food prices low.

At present old agricultural practises, land use and huge subsidies enable the bad farmers to stay in business. Land reform will allow community groups and co-operatives a fairer bite of the cherry – so let’s bring it on!

Change has to come and while there will be casualties, the best farmers and businesses will benefit from land reform, as will Scottish folk and communities.

Sue Forrest

Old Dalkeith Road

Edinburgh