Restrictions on Disposal

Part of Clause 2 – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 18th March 1997.

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Photo of Charles Kennedy Charles Kennedy Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 4:45 pm, 18th March 1997

I am sorry to interrupt, but I should like to raise one point before the Minister moves on. In the example that he cited, the land court and resumption would come into play. It is clear that he sees the potential for longer term difficulties.

Suppose that a crofting trust, through no fault of its own, or perhaps through bad management or a change in personnel between its formation and several years or decades down the track, finds itself facing financial difficulty or perhaps ruin. Things will be very much in the lap of the gods, or at least the judicial gods of the Scottish Land Court. The outcome will depend on whether the court judged such straitjacket financial circumstances as sufficient reason for granting a resumption order.

Let us hope that it would not come to that. No Secretary of State would grant trust status to something that might not be viable. We are taking a slight gamble on some of the applications that will be made in the next few years, because the circumstances could look markedly different a few years down the track.