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SCF response to the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Bill consultation May 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the proposals put forward by the Scottish Government (SG) to amend crofting law. The consultation document is meticulous, is well written and clearly laid out, which is to be commended. We appreciate that the Crofting Futures Team also presented this document at a wide selection of venues in the crofting counties which gave crofters the opportunity to get clarification and to give opinions.

We are responding on behalf of our membership, currently in excess of 2000 individuals plus their families, who have been widely consulted and given the opportunity to contribute to the draft. We trust therefore that this will be given due weight.

Crofting legislation needs to be placed in the wider context of food production, land management, environment and social well-being in rural Scotland but it is our opinion that this bill fails to do this. We attempt to place crofting in this context before answering the consultation questions.

For a full copy of the SCF response please click on the PDF below

dCRB_response_SCF.pdf

Crofters demand fair payment for provision of public goods

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The representative organisation for crofters, the Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF), demand government investment in crofting as fair payment for the being regulated ‘for the common good’ in its submission to the draft Crofting Reform Bill consultation which closes today.

Marina Dennis, Chair of the SCF working group on crofting reform, said “given the amount of work that went into the Committee of inquiry on Crofting, this is a very disappointing draft bill. It really does not get to grips with what is happening in crofting and fails to address what crofters said to the committee loud and clear – crofting must pay or crofters will not croft. We can not continue to lose money on crofting activity just because it is a good practice. That is irrational economics, crofting out of loyalty rather than logic. It is all well and good that the government says it wants crofters to manage the unique landscape of the Highlands and Islands for the common good, that it wants us to continue to steward some of the best High Nature Value Farming areas of the UK, but they ignore the recommendations of the committee which were that crofters must be paid to deliver public goods.”

The consultation on crofting reform closes today after 12 weeks which have seen a deluge of criticism poured upon it. It is the culmination of a long process which started in 2006 with the hacking of the previous bill and the setting up of the widest Inquiry into crofting in a generation. SCF Chairman Neil MacLeod added “we recognise that there are some good suggestions regarding regulation in the bill but these must be balanced with additional incentives and the inappropriate proposals taken out to get it back into kilter. As it stands the bill would do a lot more harm than good but we think that the government could actually turn this around quite easily and produce something to amend existing legislation and re-focus investment in crofting to enable it to deliver.”