Tenant Farmers (Security of Tenure)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th July 1965.

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Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness 12:00 am, 14th July 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will take steps to improve security of tenure for tenant farmers.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

I am not clear in what respect the hon. Member considers that security of tenure needs to be improved and have nothing at present to add to the reply which I gave him on 23rd March.

Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness

Surely the Secretary of State must be aware that Labour candidates in the north of Scotland, at any rate, gave the impression that it was the intention of the present Government to extend security of tenure so that farms could be passed on to the son, or possibly to the widow, when the incumbent died and the lease was not expired? Is he further aware that there is quite a bit of feeling among tenant farmers in the north of Scotland that certain landlords are taking the opportunity to dispossess families? They think that until a revision of this takes place there will not be stability in tenant farming in the North.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

What the hon. Gentleman is really after is not security of tenure, which is fairly firm for the tenant farmer, but a change of the law of succession, which was changed in the 1958 Act. We have received representations about this from the Scottish National Farmers' Union, on the one hand, which wants a change made for the benefit of the family of the tenant. On the other hand, we have had opinions the other way, and they are being assessed at present.