A major inquiry should be held to address the shortcomings of the agricultural holdings legislation included in the 2016 Land Reform (Scotland) Act, according to the former Lord President, Lord Gill.

The Courier newspaper reports that in an address to the annual general meeting of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters & Valuers Association, Lord Gill claimed that part 10 of the Act, which deals with farm tenancies, was "exacerbating the current decline in the tenanted sector rather than rectifying it", and that the Act failed to address the fundamental issues driving the decline in the sector.

He added that the time was long overdue for a full and systematic review which would look at the fundamentals of the legislation, including an investigation of alternatives to traditional tenancies.

The legislation had been subjected to "sporadic and piecemeal" reform, often based on party politics and usually prompted by some current controversy, ever since an Act of 1948 had brought in wide-ranging changes aimed at increasing the country’s food security after the Second World War.

Legislators, including those responsible for the 2016 Act, had recognised the problem but dealt only with the effects rather than the root causes.