Rural Affairs Secretary renews calls for devolution of all Scottish assets.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead again urges the UK Government to devolve the management and revenue of all Crown Estate assets in Scotland, ahead of the House of Lords Committee stage this week.
The UK Government's current plans propose treating the Crown Estate's valuable shareholding in Fort Kinnaird, as a non- Scottish asset, so that it is not devolved.
The capital value of the Crown Estate's interest in Fort Kinnaird outside Edinburgh is £103 million. If included in the transfer, this financial asset could be used to help local communities in Scotland.
Mr Lochhead said:
"From managing rural estates and tenant farms to leasing and co-ordinating investment in renewable energy or leasing aquaculture sites – the management of assets affects communities the length and breadth of Scotland, particularly rural, coastal, island communities and tenant farmers. The Crown Estate Commissioners have raised gross revenue in Scotland of around £110 million between 2007 and 2015. The surplus income has been paid to the UK Treasury and we need to retain future income in Scotland, make the most of our natural assets and increase transparency.
"Current plans for devolution of the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland are far too complicated, include reservations that allow UK Ministers to limit devolution and exclude significant economic assets in Scotland that are not wholly owned by the Crown Estate. The Crown Estate's interest in the shopping centre at Fort Kinnaird is valued at £103 million – it is totally unacceptable for the UK Government to refuse to devolve this asset.
"I again urge the UK Government to rethink their plans as the devolution of the management and income of the Crown Estate in Scotland provides a real opportunity to deliver benefits to communities across Scotland.
"In the meantime we will continue to work with our stakeholder advisory group to develop future options for the management and revenues of Crown Estate assets in Scotland to implement the Smith Commission's recommendations."