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Rural Secretary says UK proposals “needlessly complex”.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has told the first meeting of the Scottish Government's Stakeholder Advisory Group on the Crown Estate that current UK plans are needlessly complex and limit devolution.
The group brings together all those with an interest in the Crown Estate to involve them in discussions about devolution of the management and revenues of Crown Estate assets in Scotland, interim arrangements for those functions and a long term framework for management of assets.
Mr Lochhead said:
"The UK Government's proposals in the Scotland Bill on the Crown Estate are needlessly complex, include carve outs for reserved issues and scope for UK Ministers to limit devolution and exclude economic assets in Scotland that are not wholly owned by the Crown Estate such as the valuable shareholding in Fort Kinnaird.
"We are focused on making the proposals simple and workable and to deliver a faithful and effective implementation of the Smith Commission's recommendations. Devolution of the management and income of the Crown Estate in Scotland presents a genuine opportunity to deliver benefits to communities across Scotland.
"It will also ensure we retain income in Scotland, introduce greater transparency and take advantage of our natural assets. I want to minimise disruption and provide certainty and I believe this Stakeholder Group will help give a voice to those who have an interest in this process."
The first meeting of the Crown Estate Devolution Stakeholder Group took place on 16, September 2015. It included representatives from a wide range of groups including Councils, NFU Scotland, Oil and Gas UK, Scottish Renewables, the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisations and others. A full list is available from the Scottish Government.