The draft Crofting Reform Bill currently out for consultation is ‘out of touch’ and ‘out of balance’ according to the Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF), the only member-led organisation dedicated to promoting crofting.
SCF vice-chair Marina Dennis, who heads the SCF working group on crofting reform said “We have scrutinised the draft reform bill at length and have to conclude that once again the Scottish Government draftsmen have produced a bill that does not reflect what crofters have said is needed to revitalise crofting. Furthermore, it does not reflect what the Committee of Inquiry on Crofting said was needed but only takes parts of the committee’s recommendations and either presents them out of context or misinterprets them completely. What we are offered is the suggestion to increase regulation, increase enforcement and increase costs to crofters, with no incentives to balance the package. Lots of stick and no carrot, at a time when crofting is struggling to bring in any return at all. This bill can only be described as oppressive. When we hear again and again crofters asking ‘what is the benefit of being a crofter?’ and young folk saying ‘there is nothing in crofting to make me want to do it’ we know there is something wrong.