The long-awaited final report of the Agricultural Holdings Review Group was published last week.
The review group was brought together by the Scottish Government to investigate ongoing concerns in the tenanted farming sector and to suggest action.
The final report makes 49 recommendations to address what it sees as three fundamental underlying issues – improving relationships between tenants and landowners, addressing concerns around right to buy and providing opportunities for new entrants by creating a framework fit for the 21st century.
Specific recommendations include establishment of a tenant farming commissioner, a clearer, fairer process for setting rents and allowing some tenants to apply to the Scottish Land Court to force the sale of the holding where a landlord does not meet their obligations.
South Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish welcomed the report, saying: “The tenant farming sector accounts for around a quarter of Scotland’s agriculture, but in recent decades it has been in steep decline. This is a real issue, not least because the sector has traditionally provided a gateway for new entrants to build a career in farming. The review group’s report is an important step in reversing this trend.”
And local Conservative MSP John Lamont added: “While much of the detail is yet to be determined, the outcome will clearly challenge land owners and tenants to take steps to improve their relationships where that relationship is poor. That can only be a good thing.”