Creating a Sustainable Future for Crofting

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

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Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

I declare an interest as a partner in a farming business.

I thank the cabinet secretary for prior sight of his statement. However, let us be clear: it was an extremely disappointing statement. Once again, a bill that has been promised on numerous occasions has been ditched. The crofting law sump that was set up by the crofting law group highlighted the need for legislative reform way back in 2013. The Scottish National Party promised to introduce new legislation on crofting in its 2016 manifesto and again in last year’s programme for Government.

In 2017, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee undertook a comprehensive examination of all laws surrounding crofting, and recommended a move away from the piecemeal process of legislative development and towards introduction of a comprehensive bill.

The committee recommended that the passage of the bill should be comfortably completed before the end of the current parliamentary session. It is clear that that cannot now happen. This SNP Government is clearly not complying with the recommendations of the committee or the needs of the crofting community. Can the cabinet secretary explain that complete dereliction of duty?