Results 1–20 of 9137 for speaker:Alex Fergusson

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: Very briefly, I commend the minister’s determination to be here despite obviously not being very well. I will let my colleagues sweat it out as to which one should take over if I should be afflicted by the same problem. It is nice to start the day on a note of consensus. We are very happy with all the amendments in this group, because we believe that they improve the land rights and...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I have harboured occasional concerns about the concept of relevant human rights ever since it first appeared in evidence to the committee. There seems within that concept to be an unmentioned inference that the Government can somehow cherry pick whatever convention or covenant most suits its purpose, and that the various other guidelines and conventions are somehow on an equal footing with...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: If I may quote from the Official Report, Mr Thompson said that “The fact that the ECHR is written into the 1998 act needs to be looked at. That provision needs to be removed so that we have the same freedom in proposing legislation as any other legislature has.”—[Official Report, Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, 3 February 2016; c 56.] I wonder whether some of...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I am afraid that the Conservatives oppose amendment 100. I believe that the proposals in that amendment are already being taken forward. The minister mentioned the 1 million acres working group, which encompasses a lot of Johann Lamont’s intentions. I also understand that the land commission will cover the provision with advice and guidance. The minister made it clear at stage 2 that the...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: The Scottish Conservatives have no difficulties whatsoever, and never have had difficulties, in bringing greater openness and transparency to land ownership. However, I am really concerned about the lack of time, which other members have mentioned, that we have had to digest and look at the full implications of the group of amendments. That bothers me. That lack of time creates the feeling...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: We do not intend to oppose these amendments, but I want to repeat and place on record my concerns about significant provisions being introduced to legislation by way of regulation, with limited scrutiny. That is not the right way to go about making robust legislation, and I hope that what is being done does not end up being open to challenge. I know that the Delegated Powers and Law Reform...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: My amendments 107 and 109 would simply provide an improved alternative to Mike Russell’s amendments 7 and 9. Whereas Mike Russell’s amendments apply only where the land in question “includes agricultural land”, my amendments would bring into the equation other land-based businesses, such as forestry and tourism, as well as other rural-related activities. As a result ministers could...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I will be very brief. As I said at stage 2, I am broadly sympathetic to the principle of Ms Boyack’s amendment 72. I believe that there is a major crossover with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. That is a matter that I raised at stage 2, but did not get an answer. I am not convinced that local authorities do not already have a range of powers that would achieve the same end as...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I very much welcome Mike Russell’s amendment 73. My concerns are not so much about deer management and deer forests as about commercial shootings. Members might remember that I attempted to remove part 6 of the bill at stage 2 on the ground that the committee’s stage 1 report had been pretty scathing about the Government’s proposals to reintroduce sporting rates and the almost complete...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I recognise a trend, Presiding Officer, so I will not move the amendment. Amendments 111 to 113 not moved.

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I will be very brief and say that I feel very similarly about amendment 114 to how I felt about Sarah Boyack’s amendment on compulsory sale orders. I can see where Mr Harvie is coming from and, as Sarah Boyack said, the principle is worthy of exploration, but I do not think that it is best dealt with in this legislation. I think it would be better looked at as part of consideration of...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: Again, I do not think that the issue should be slotted into this bill without proper scrutiny or indeed evidence on the subject, especially as we spent considerable time trying to simplify the legislation that relates to allotments during the passage of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. I do not know whether the minister is minded to support amendment 115, but I am afraid that we are...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: It may well be true that deer management has not changed much in the past 50 years, but it may have changed more in the past two years than at any other time for a very long time. That is due to the kicking, if I may put it that way, that the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee has given to the world of deer management. I want to put that in context. I have no issues at...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: The member mentioned 2014, which was when the report was drawn up. I have said already that we have probably had more changes in the past two years than in the past 50 years. I do not take away from the possibility of statutory intervention. The member will know that I have never shied away from that in committee. However, at this final stage of voluntary work, we should be seen to be...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I lodged amendment 117 in response to a set of circumstances that was brought to my attention only at the end of our stage 2 proceedings. That was unfortunate, to say the least, because I believe that those circumstances would attract the sympathies of most members as, in effect, they lead to the accidental creation of a secure 1991 act tenancy without the landowner’s consent and often even...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: Hence my suggestion that the Land Court should be involved when there is a dispute about how or when a tenancy was created.

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I thank those members who took part in the brief debate. I think that there is a genuine issue to address here—indeed, I would not have lodged the amendment otherwise—and it is highly regrettable that it was not brought to the attention of any of us until after stage 2 had been completed. It is perhaps surprising that nobody took advantage of the opportunity to provide written evidence in...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: We are starting to get to the nitty-gritty of my interest in the bill. I am starting to get revved up, I am afraid. I am happy to endorse amendment 80, but I am afraid that amendment 1 is a piece of nonsense, to be frank. As I said at stage 2, any tenant will know when their rent is due, especially with an SLDT or an LDT. It will nearly always be at Martinmas or Michaelmas—on 28 May or 28...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: It is quite clear that the cabinet secretary and I—and possibly other members—have what I fear to be an irreconcilable difference over this issue. My belief is that the introduction at stage 2 of the ability of a 1991 act tenant to relinquish his or her tenancy and assign it for value has ensured one certain outcome: that the bill cannot deliver at least one of its policy...

Scottish Parliament: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (16 Mar 2016)

Alex Fergusson: I do not disagree with much of what Michael Russell has just said, as I think he knows. However, I hark back to a point that the rent review working group made to the committee before Mr Russell joined us. The group said that, if we got rent review and waygo right, we would solve a lot of the problems in the tenanted sector. Does Mr Russell not think that many of the problems to which he has...


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