Richard Lochhead MSP

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Richard Lochhead MSP

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  • Member for: Moray
  • Region: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Richard is a member of the following Committees:

Richard is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead)

As the member will know, the consultation focused on a range of issues to promote responsible dog ownership, including compulsory microchipping, licensing, muzzling and dog fouling. It also provided an opportunity to suggest alternative measures to foster responsible dog ownership. There was a good response to the consultation, with over 2,000 responses submitted. Analysis of the responses is now complete and we will publish the analysis report on the Scottish Government website tomorrow.

I am sure that the member will wish to read the report in due course, but what I can say now is that there appears to be wide support for compulsory microchipping, little support for compulsory muzzling and mixed views on some of the other measures in the consultation. The Government will now of course carefully consider those views and we will seek to announce our response and next steps in the near future.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Richard Lochhead

Of course, it is exactly in response to the horrific incidents in the member’s constituency and elsewhere in Scotland that we are taking these issues very seriously and have conducted a wide-ranging consultation on a number of measures that could make a real difference. We have to balance the interests of animal welfare with public safety and we will give careful consideration to the measures, but I assure the member and the rest of the Parliament that the Government is taking the issues very seriously indeed and we will bring forward measures as quickly as we can.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead) Thank you very much. Good morning to the committee. It is a pleasure to be here with you this morning.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to make a few opening remarks about the review group’s interim report. Before I do that, I ask my colleagues to say a little bit about their backgrounds and their roles in the group. I am grateful to the talented and hard-working members of the review group, who have helped to make the report so effective.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead We welcome the opportunity to provide the committee with an update on the progress so far. The interim report was published on 20 June and marked an important milestone for the future of tenant farming in Scotland. I am pleased with the warm response that we have received from all the stakeholders. They, in turn, have played an important part in the success of the review so far.

Over recent years, we have all aimed to support the tenant farming sector and improve relationships between tenant farmers and their landlords. Although some changes have started to work, the committee knows as well as we all do that tenant farming is a complex and emotive area in agriculture and that agriculture itself is not a static industry. Tenant farmers and, in particular, those who wish to join the proud tradition of tenant farming in Scotland still face many practical problems. Tenant farming is a cornerstone of Scottish agriculture, and it can also play a role in supporting vibrant and sustainable rural communities across the country. That is why I as minister am absolutely committed to bringing forward better solutions.

I knew that the task was never going to be easy—indeed, my four aims for the review group were ambitious and very challenging—but we have already worked hard at meeting them and delivering our vision for a dynamic sector. Of course, our vision is of a tenancy sector that gets the best from the land and the people farming it, provides for new entrants and forms part of a sustainable future for Scottish farming.

You will be aware that, as part of the process, we set eight aspirations for the future of the tenanted sector. I will not go through those aspirations just now, but I know that the committee discussed them at its recent evidence session. We have engaged with the industry to ensure that we have support for those aspirations and, since then, we have focused on identifying the barriers to achieving them. During the process, we met and talked to more than 300 people and received nearly 80 pieces of written evidence; we also held open meetings in Islay, Bute, Ayr, St Boswells, Dumfries, Stranraer, Inverness, Blair Atholl, Glenlivet, Turriff, Inverurie and Perth. As members will see, those meetings, of which I attended only a small number—the review group attended most of them—have taken place right across Scotland and have been a very important part of the process.

On our visits, people took time out away from the spring lambing, the calving, the silage making and whatever to talk to us, and many who wanted to express their views opened their homes to us. Indeed, conversations often happened behind closed doors because of the nature of some of the issues that people wanted to raise.

We are very grateful to the stakeholder organisations, which have discussed the issues very frankly not only with us but with each other and have made great efforts to facilitate the visits and wider engagements that have taken place across Scotland’s farms. Their willingness to engage with each other and to have honest and frank discussions has been one of the most positive outcomes of the process.

A great example of that proactive approach is the joint initiative on rent reviews that has been announced by NFUS, the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association and Scottish Land & Estates and which of course was in the news just a couple of weeks ago. Andrew Thin played a very important role in brokering that agreement, which aims to bring stability and peace of mind to those involved in the rent review process in light of the very prominent uncertainties that have been reported in the news recently. I strongly welcome the dedication and co-operation that have been shown by all three organisations and, in particular, by their representatives Nigel Miller, David Johnstone and Christopher Nicholson. As minister, I very much look forward to the development of the initiative, and I urge the whole industry, including land agents and their legal representatives, to follow the recommendations in the joint memorandum. It is really important that all sides of the industry throw their weight behind it and make it work.

Over the summer, we have focused on the next stage of our work and the three main workstreams, which are: first, establishing a stable and effective framework for secure 1991 tenancies; secondly, creating a new and flexible framework to stimulate diverse other tenancy arrangements; and thirdly ensuring a much more supportive, wider, cross-cutting context for the whole of the country’s tenant farming sector. Although it is necessary for the group to have space to develop its thinking in private, we will continue to draw on advice and seek contributions from individuals on specific issues over the coming months. In the autumn, we will engage further with stakeholders to discuss our thinking around potential draft recommendations and, by late autumn, we will begin to prepare our final report.

At this stage, it would be wrong for me or my colleagues to comment on specific details of our most recent discussions before our views are fully formed and agreed, but against that backdrop we look forward to today’s discussion and will be as frank and as open as we can with you about many of the important issues that people will want to hear about and you will want to ask about.

I thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter. Indeed, having read the Official Report of your helpful and illuminating evidence taking over the past week or two, I thank the committee for its work, too.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead That is a good question to start. As I said in my opening remarks, one of our key aspirations is to ensure that tenant farming plays a key role in underpinning our rural economy. That is why so many of the issues that the review group is addressing are important.

If we want active agriculture in this country, tenant farming plays a crucial role in delivering that and if we want tenant farming and family farming to be the bedrock of many of our rural communities, farmers need to attract investment and they need access to land—they need land to farm. That is why those issues are so important for the future of Scotland’s rural economy.

I assure the tenant farmers of Scotland that the driving aspiration of all our work is to ensure that their contribution to Scotland’s economy and to putting food on our tables continues.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead I will ask colleagues to chip in, because this is a broad and important subject. The key point to make is that, yes, there has been a decline in tenanted land in Scotland. That is one of the primary reasons why we are all here discussing the issue.

The statistics illustrate that there has been a substantial reduction in let land—a reduction of 42 per cent since 1982. However, a reduction in let land does not equate to a reduction in land in agricultural production. A lot of that land is now owned and therefore the land—not all of it, but much of it—is still being farmed. That is an important point from Scotland’s perspective.

The thrust of the question was whether the review group will propose measures to increase let land in Scotland. That touches on a range of areas from fiscal measures and taxation to some of the recommendations that we may make. I invite my colleagues to come in on what was a broad question.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead The big picture is that although there is a decline in let land, which is defined as land that is let for more than a year, there is also more owned land, more agricultural production and more seasonal lets. Of course, they are very relevant statistics for the future of tenant farming because anyone who wants to farm land under a tenancy will want some kind of long-term security, and a predominance of seasonal lets or owned land, which reduces the amount of land that is available for letting, clearly influences to what extent they can have that security.

That is why the issues that we are discussing—about giving certainty and confidence to the whole of the sector but particularly to tenant farmers so that they feel that they can make a living and have the critical mass of land available to make that happen—are so important.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead We are very keen on all such examples from the rest of the world. Another positive element of the review is the good information that we are gathering about what is happening in this country, on which we have an extremely good set of data for the first time ever, and in the rest of the world. The interim report is good in that way, because it looks at what is happening not just here but in the rest of the world, and we have to learn from that.

Over the past few years, as minister I have often had share farming mentioned to me. The review group has the opportunity to focus on such new ideas and how they could be implemented in a Scottish context.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead Clearly, we want to consider that issue, because we cannot look at the future of tenant farming in Scotland without looking at the right-to-buy debate. As members are aware, many tenant farmers want us to address that issue, and it has featured to a great degree in our work so far. Many people have told the committee that there are circumstances in which the right to buy is perhaps the only way forward and is the best option. We have recognised that in our interim report.

We have a lot of work to do over the next few months in order to reach a final view on what role the right to buy has to play. However, clearly, there are examples where it is difficult to see any alternative ways of allowing land to be used productively and enabling the family concerned to have a better and more viable future.

That is where we are at the moment. We recognise the case that has been put to us, which is that there are circumstances in which use of the right to buy could be justified, but we have a lot of work to do with regard to the circumstances in which it could be implemented, what the consequences of that would be and how far it should go.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 20 August 2014 : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Richard Lochhead Yes. There are many issues to be addressed with regard to ensuring that tenant farming remains attractive. As I said before, the primary ingredients are assuring people who want to take on a farm that it is going to be viable, that they will be able to get a return on investments that they make in the farm, and that they will be able to plan for a long-term future on the farm.

Iain Mackay, who is sitting next to me, is a tenant farmer. He is in a much better position than I am to explain what is required to make a living out of tenant farming, but in terms of the wider approach, the issues that I outlined are what we are thinking about.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Lochhead
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10284: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10052: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09836: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09333: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08857: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08540: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07892: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05898.3: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05892: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05172: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2012 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S2W-32678: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32679: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32685: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32692: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32680: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32683: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32684: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32681: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32682: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32693: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>

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