Creating a Sustainable Future for Crofting

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

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Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of his statement.

Two years ago, the programme for Government stated:

“We will ... consult on and develop proposals to reform crofting law”.

A year ago, the programme for Government stated:

“We will take forward work on a Crofting Bill and publish a national development plan for crofting”.

Just six months ago, at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, the cabinet secretary said:

“I committed to seeking to introduce a crofting bill in sufficient time for it to be passed before the end of the session. That commitment remains.”—[

Official Report, Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

, 24 April 2019; c 7.]

Does the cabinet secretary accept that the failure to deliver on that commitment in the timescale that he pledged will be viewed as a broken promise by the crofting community?

In his statement, the cabinet secretary states that he has asked officials to work with stakeholders to identify five to 10 priority changes that they would like to see, but the crofting law sump report identified 57 crofting law issues that needed to be addressed—17 of which were identified as being high priority and nine of which were classed as urgent. Can the cabinet secretary confirm, at the very least, that the nine urgent issues will be dealt with in any crofting bill that he introduces? When will the Government address the many other issues that were identified in the report?