Agriculture Holdings reform receives welcome

The Scottish Government plans to reform agricultural holdings to encourage landlords to let farmland to tenant farmers aims to encourage new entrants into farming, extending the definition of “near relative” to include grandchildren making it easier for them to inherit tenancies.

South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse (SNP) said: “We have seen in this programme a large amount of attention paid to agriculture and marine policies, and that is correct given how vital these are to the Scottish economy.

“We already know the SNP Government is extremely supportive of rural areas and in Session 3, the rural priorities element of the Scotland Rural Development Programme provided £450 million to 5,650 projects since 2008 as well as £500 million being distributed to around 20,000 farmers and crofters under the Single Farm Payments Scheme.

“People in the Scottish Borders and East Lothian know only too well the reliance on these sectors for their livelihoods as well as marking an important part of the Borders’ heritage.

“With the Agricultural Holdings Bill the Scottish Government want to see as much farm land as possible being made available to let to ensure land is being used as productively as possible whilst also encouraging new entrants into tenant farming.

“I am delighted to hear such proposals as it is an issue I hear about time and time again. I look forward to working with the Scottish Government during the implementation of the Bill and to hearing from people in the South of Scotland with their views on how we can introduce fairer ways to allow our talented and vital farming communities to continue contributing to the Borders and wider South of Scotland economy.”