The future of Agricultural Property Relief was thrown into doubt at a political candidate debate at Thainstone Mart in Aberdeenshire. The four-party panel discussion, hosted by NFU Scotland, put farming questions to the candidates for the Gordon and Buchan constituency.

When asked what a Labour Government would do about Agricultural Property Relief, Nurul Hoque Ali said, “Small farms and crofts won’t be affected, only those who can pay. On this specific issue, smallholders, crofts, and others should be exempt. This is about looking at the very big players, they should be able to pay their fair share.”

Meanwhile, Conservative candidate Harriet Cross discouraged changes to the tax relief, saying, “You can’t tax new businesses the moment new people come in. It’s impossible to do this.”

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SNP candidate Richard Thomson believed that the tax should not affect the transfer of a family farm from one generation to the next. Liberal Democrat candidate Conrad Wood said, “It is important to minimize the barriers for new farmers getting into farming. Most new farmers are from farming families. Putting huge financial burdens on people who are at the moment of starting a new business is not right.”

As the debate went on, Ms Cross attacked the SNP’s record in government in Scotland, stating that the “farming budget was cut at Holyrood and not managed. The first thing is the money should be used properly. We can’t keep throwing money at the problem if the Scottish Government is not managing it properly.”

Meanwhile, Mr Thomson said, “Westminster needs to send the money. It is important to get a multi-year funding settlement to give farmers certainty.”

Mr Wood explained that the Lib Dem manifesto commits an additional £1bn for the rural sector every year. Mr. Hoque Ali added, “All of these issues farmers talk about are very important to us. Ensuring local farming exists is important and recognised by the Labour Party.”