Speedy action required to sort ‘decrofting shambles’
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has urged quick action over emergency legislation to end the “decrofting shambles.”
Speaking after crofitng minister Paul Wheelhouse announced a new law to amend the 2010 Crofting Act would be introduced after Easter Mr Scott said “speed is of the essence”.
Changes to the law are intended to allow crofters to sell land from their owner-occupied croft whether for a house site or other purpose. Such sales under decrofting had been suspended by the Crofting Commission since February.
Mr Scott said: “A new law needs to be passed quickly. Crofters across Shetland are directly affected by this shambles. So I welcome the Scottish government’s commitment to bring forward a proposed law change after the Easter break. But I want this done quickly.
“I will certainly support legislation that solves the problem. But this uncertainty affecting crofters needs to be ended quickly and I am urging the minister to work with MSP’s across parliament to achieve cross-party agreement on both the new law and the timescale. Speed is of the essence.
“I also welcome the Minister’s commitment to consider any examples of crofters who have been financially hit because of this shambles.”
He asked any crofters financially affected to contact him.
Mr Scott will meet the Crofting Commission to discuss these matters. He added, “I am very concerned that many crofters have little or no faith in the commission. They have an important regulatory role over crofting but their handling of this matter has brought real financial difficulties to many people. So the commission has a big task in re-establishing its credibility in the crofting counties.”
Mr Wheelhouse admitted the legislation was flawed saying, “It has come to light recently that there is an issue with the Crofting Act and the government, along with the Crofting Commission, has taken a number of steps to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
“By bringing forward a Bill as soon as possible after Easter I hope this provides some comfort to crofters that a solution is on its way.”