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:

The majority of my members are looking for longer terms; they want security. The average length of term on a farm business tenancy today is 2.9 years. Think of agriculture in terms of its long-term need to look at soil management, agri-environment schemes and so on. If you take land that has buildings it goes up to about seven, if you have land with housing, it is up to about 10 or 11, but we would expect those later ones to be even longer than that. Our members consistently ask for greater length of security of tenure. For example, if you go to a bank to borrow money to invest in your business and you can only show a three-year or a four-year time horizon, why would the bank lend you money to do any substantial investment if it only has a four-year period to pay that back? Even those tenancies that the CLA often claim get renewed year after year, are only for annual security. How do you go to a bank asking for support for something where you have annual security? We think there is a great deal of appetite for longer-term tenancies.