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TFA hits out at Government failure to address tenanted sector reform

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has expressed its disappointment that the Agriculture Bill is completely silent on the need for post-Brexit reform of the tenanted sector.

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TFA chief executive George Dunn
TFA chief executive George Dunn
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TFA hits out at Government failure to address tenanted sector reform in Ag Bill

Farmers Guardian understands Ministers had still not made a decision on whether to include any changes to tenancy legislation in the Bill by the end of August.

 

The TFA was particularly upset about the failure to address the situation as Defra recalled the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG) in 2017 to advise Government on how the sector’s resilience and sustainability could be improved after Brexit.

 

Late last year, Farming Minister George Eustice pledged his support for the TRIG’s recommendations, but so far Defra officials have only promised a future consultation on possible changes.


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Chief executive of the association George Dunn said: “The Agriculture Bill was the obvious place to include the recommendations for legislative change from the TRIG, fully discussed and debated by all the relevant stakeholder organisations and presented to Government last autumn.

 

“To ask for recommendations and then to do nothing with them is illogical. We must have Government amendments to the Agriculture Bill to plug this gap or a commitment to an early Agricultural Tenancies Bill.”

TRIG recommendations

  • Requiring local authorities to put together strategic plans for the future of their farm estates, with help and possibly financial support from Defra
  • Allowing Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies to be legally converted to fixed-term assignable tenancies, giving new entrants an opportunity to enter the industry
  • Giving landlords an incentive to invest by allowing them to ringfence any return on their spend
  • Giving landlords an alternative to forfeiture, which courts are reluctant to grant if tenants allow farms to fall into a state of disrepair. It is hoped this will encourage landlords to offer longer-term tenancies
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