Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:13 pm on 11th February 2020.

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George Dunn:

That is an interesting question, and one to which there is no simple answer. There are two codes of tenancy in play. One is the code under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, and one is under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995. The 1986 Act has a formulaic approach to rent. It steers you away from the market. In my view, if you look at the rents that are on Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, they are probably more akin to an affordable level of rent. We are seeing around £80 per acre on arable, £50 to £60 per acre on grass and up to £100 per acre on dairy.

The farm business tenancy rents, which are driven by tender rents quite a lot, are far too high. We often see rents for arable ground in excess of £200 per acre and over £200 per acre for dairy ground. Those are clearly unsustainable. I would direct the Committee to look at the sorts of evidence you would get from the 1986 Act as to what a reasonable level of rent is.