Creating a Sustainable Future for Crofting

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 10 September 2019.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Mr Rumbles and I may disagree about the general approach to be taken, but, after the committee’s work, we carried out a consultation, which took some time. We took views, which resulted in the conclusion that there was no majority for that comprehensive approach at that stage. Therefore, we determined to proceed in two phases.

Phase 1 involved a series of practical, everyday measures that can improve, and in some cases, amend law that is sub-optimal.

We agreed that, in phase 2, which will take place in the next session of Parliament, after the next election, consideration could be given to fundamental reform.

Officials have been working very hard with stakeholders and others on a series of issues, such as standard securities, extended powers for the keeper of the registers of Scotland, landlords with vacant crofts and deemed crofts. A lot of work has been done to advance issues, and we are fairly far down the road and not far off being able to instruct parliamentary draftsmen. The trouble is that the parliamentary draftsmen are wholly engaged in carrying out the work for Brexit and Brexit bills. We cannot expect people to do other work when the Tory Government’s Brexit agenda is taking up so much time. In fact, when Amber Rudd resigned from the Tory party, she said that 80 to 90 per cent of the UK Government’s time is being spent on Brexit.

I hope that Mr Rumbles agrees that we are in a situation in which it is extremely difficult for us to achieve what the people of Scotland and crofters wish and that that is certainly not of our making.