Crofting Bill raises more questions than answers

20 May 2009




Reacting to the publication of the draft crofting Bill, Peter Peacock, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP said: "The Bill will get very close scrutiny from my colleagues and I as it raises more questions than it answers.

"It also appears many of the ideas, like tackling absenteeism, could be dealt with under existing powers and does not really need legislation.

"The focus of the proposed legislation is clearly on bureaucracy with the potential to increase costs and slow down decision making.

"What crofting desperately needs right now is economic help to keep cattle and sheep on the hills and give it hope for the future.

"The bill does not deal with these issues.

"Labour will be consulting with and listening closely to what crofters have to say over the summer.

"It is not clear how the local sub-committees of the Commission will be elected or precisely who the electorate will be.

"While it appears the committees will have local responsibility for some very tough decisions, they will not have real power as all their decisions will be able to be appealed to their parent body.

"These are just a couple of the dozens of questions that will need answered over coming weeks.

Mr Peacock added: "There is a real danger that Parliament is being asked to fiddle with bureaucracy while crofting burns in the face of huge economic pressure.

"I hope crofters will make their views clearly known and my colleagues and I will be listening carefully to what they say.


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