A new amendment to the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, which gives farming tenants the power to have the terms of their agreement altered at arbitration, is inequitable. It may lead to the withdrawal of land from the tenanted sector and a subsequent reduction in farms available to rent, says CLA Cymru, the organisation that represents landowners and rural businesses.
Fraser McAuley, Senior Policy Adviser, CLA Cymru says: “This measure undermines freedom of contract under the law for both parties: landowner and tenant. It will generate uncertainty and create a new and unnecessary deterrent for landowners to commit new land to longer-term tenancies. Such an arrangement would never be seen in other commercial arrangements.”
When terms which are already established can be changed mid-term, this may deter landowners from entering into longer term tenancies. This will damage the current work to build confidence in the sector.
Fraser adds: “We’ve sought clarification from the Welsh Government whether this proposal affects pre-existing contracts.”
“As we transition to a new scheme for supporting and regulating agriculture in the next 24 months, this is not the time for the Welsh Government to be creating insecurity. What is needed is information and support for parties to agree terms that suit their needs from the outset.”
“We’re advising landowners who are in negotiation to renew tenancies to be aware of the proposals. We provide one-to-one advice to our members.”