For immediate use: Friday 20th August 2010
POLITICAL/ ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENTS
SNP MSP Rob Gibson has called for the devolution of the Crown Estate after reports in the Herald show it had sold Scottish property at a loss to fund shopping malls in England.
The Crown Estate also currently administers and receives revenues from the Scottish seabed - an area of huge potential with the development of offshore renewable energy.
Mr Gibson argued that fully devolving the Crown Estate would allow it to focus properly on Scottish priorities and to generate investment for Scotland.
“Devolving the Crown Estate is long overdue and the current coalition’s plans to allow Scotland to appoint one Commissioner are seriously deficient.
“Selling Scottish property at a loss to fund shopping malls in England instead of holding onto the property to make the best return for further investment in Scotland is not acceptable with what are major assets.
“It raises serious questions about the Crown Estates stewardship of their resources in Scotland. With the Crown Estate currently responsible for and receiving revenues from Scotland’s seabed which is set to become one of our most valuable resources this state of affairs in unacceptable.
"We must be sure that the lands and seabed owned by the Crown Estate are, as Scotland's national resources, being put to the best use for Scotland's national interest. Devolving the Crown Estate in Scotland to Scottish control will ensure that is the case.
“The UK Government must act to fully devolve control of all elements of the Crown Estate and I am calling on the Lib Dems, who well know the benefit that could be derived for the North of Scotland, to ensure the coalition delivers that devolution as soon as possible.
“With other powers due to be transferred by the coalition there is perfect opportunity to resolve this issue for good."