Right to buy on agenda

TENANT farmers wishing to buy their farms were this week told that only those with secure tenancies from the 1991 legislation would be included in a review of tenancy legislation.

Speaking to Scottish Parliament’s rural affairs, climate change and environment committee, Richard Lochhead, the rural affairs secretary, said it would be “inconceivable” for the review not to include consideration of an absolute right to buy.

But he stressed it would only apply to those farming with so-called secure tenancies which can be passed down through families for generations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Lochhead also confirmed the review would be ministerial-led rather than an external review and that he would shortly be making an announcement on its remit, the appointment of group members and the timetable involved.

While Scottish Land & Estates (SL&E), representing landowners, supported Lochhead’s call for a “vibrant” tenant farming sector, they believed the introduction of an absolute right to buy would prevent this from being achieved.

Luke Borwick, chairman of SL&E said, “The negative impact of continuing calls for its introduction are clearly evident through the ever increasing loss of confidence in letting.”

For the tenanted sector, the Scottish Tenant Farmers’ Association welcomed the review with its chairman, Christopher Nicholson, saying it was a recognition the tenanted sector was ailing and in need of an overhaul.

“We are still working with 65-year-old legislation and we look forward to [making] tenancy law fit for the 21st century.”

ANDREW ARBUCKLE