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Tenants Farmers

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tenant farmers will be affected by the closure of the adjudication scheme; and if he will make a statement. (123861)

We believe, that few, if any, tenant farmers will be directly affected by the decision to withdraw funding for the adjudication scheme to support the Code of Good Practice on tenant farmer diversification.

However, this decision was not taken lightly. It was always expected that the Code of Good Practice would be the primary tool for the majority of landlords and tenants to assist them in reaching agreement on proposals for diversification. Parties would only have referred to the adjudication scheme where agreement was not possible. The scheme would have provided an independent view of the merits or otherwise of the diversification proposal, but would not have imposed any obligation on either landlords or tenants to comply with the decision. Whilst funding for the scheme has now been withdrawn, the Code continues to be available to provide useful and informative advice to farm tenants and their landlords on how to deal with proposals for diversification.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether tenant farmers who took up the adjudication scheme in 2006 will be able to continue to receive money from it; whether those who were engaged in diversification negotiations with landlords before the scheme closed will be able to claim; and if he will make a statement. (123862)

There were no applications for the adjudication scheme to support the Code of Good Practice on tenant farmer diversification in 2006, either from tenant farmers or landlords.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department expects to save by closing the adjudication scheme; how those savings will be used; and if he will make a statement. (123863)

The budget for the adjudication scheme to support the Code of Good Practice on tenant farmer diversification was £240,000 over a period of four years. As there were no applications for the adjudication scheme in the first year, and given the pressures on DEFRA’s budget, the decision was taken to end the scheme. This decision was not taken lightly. The withdrawal of funding for the scheme will contribute generally to savings across the Department.