Power to provide for phasing out direct payments and delinked payments

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Conservative, Scarborough and Whitby 4:00 pm, 1st November 2018

I want to raise one point with the Minister, which I hope he will be able to cover. We have heard already that about a third of the farm land in this country is farmed through tenancies. Indeed, a tenancy is probably the only way that many new applicants can get into the industry, other than marrying into money or winning the lottery. However, there may be situations where taking these payments is attractive to the tenant, but where the landlord is unwilling for that to happen, particularly as the basic payments underwrote the rent in many cases, as we heard in evidence. Indeed, we heard that in many cases the rent was basically dictated by the basic payments.

My question for the Minister is, will the consent of the landlord be required before a tenant can take one of these multi-annual exit schemes? If not, might we then have the landlord looking at the small print of the tenancy agreement and going into the whole dilapidations situation? Many people leaving a tenancy can find clauses requiring the guttering to be painted or the gateposts to be straightened. Often, tenants find that they cannot leave because of the dilapidations. Where the landlord wants a tenant to leave, he will waive the dilapidations, so a lot of these payments might get mopped up by angry landlords demanding dilapidations at the end of tenancies.