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Expect 'right to buy' resignations

RELATIONS BETWEEN landowners and tenant farmers are at one of their lowest ever ebbs – but by improving communications between the two, the National Farmers Union Scotland hopes to encourage land management opportunities for the benefit of all.

But by seeking compromise, the union admitted it risked losing a portion of membership from both sides of the divide.

Speaking at a briefing on the union's submission to ScotGov's Land Reform Review, president Nigel Miller said: "The last time our union debated the possibility of a Right to Buy, it became a resignation issue for some, and we expect this will happen again.

"Ten years on, we still have polarised views coming forward from landowners and tenants, but NFUS is of the opinion that we have to take this issue forward for the benefit of the entire industry. We want to see more land becoming available and a more sustainable relationship created between landlord and tenant."

Mr Miller made it plain that, despite an online survey of its members which found that 64% of tenant farmers supported the creation of an absolute right to buy their farm, NFUS remained against the idea. A spokesman noted that in the paper version of the same survey, the ARTB was only supported by 8% of respondents.

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