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Absolute right to buy rejected

SCOTLAND'S troubled tenant farming sector needs some radical thinking to put it back on an even keel – but the idea of an absolute right to buy for secure tenants is, it seems, not widely supported.

In an area of debate characterised by sharp disagreement along the fault-line between the haves and the have-nots, there were rare signs of consensus this week as it emerged that, even amongst tenant farmers, there is no majority of support for an absolute right to buy.

Over the last week, the Scottish Government's Land Reform Review Group has received several major responses to its consultation on what Scotland's people and businesses want to see on the SNP's land legislation agenda.

Predictably, landowners' body Scottish Land and Estates called for the government to strike any mention of an absolute right from its wishlist, while the National Farmers Union Scotland, with members in both the landlord and tenant camps, stressed that its strenuous efforts to glean an average of opinion across that membership had found that most – though not all – believed an ARTB would do more harm than good.

But it might prove to be the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association's submission to the review group that finally puts the matter to bed, as it admitted its membership had "divided" views on a right to buy, and suggested that those tenants who did fiercely support the idea were doing so because of their "dissatisfaction and frustration" with their own landlords, not as a point of political principle.

(For the full story see The Scottish Farmer this week, January 26, 2013)

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