Carmichael tables amendment over Crown Estate devolution
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has put the case in the House of Commons for devolution of the Crown Estate to island communities.
This week he tabled an amendment to the Scotland Bill, calling for all functions of the Crown Estate in Scotland to be transferred to local authorities in the Northern and Western Isles – rather than Edinburgh.
Mr Carmichael’s amendment is in line with the proposals set out in the Smith Commission on the devolution of Crown Estate assets to the island communities.
Mr Carmichael said: “The Smith Commission recommended that Scotland’s island communities should be given responsibility for the Crown Estate’s significant economic assets.
“Those who live in the Northern Isles are in the best position to manage these resources which would have a substantial impact on the local economies.
“I want this to happen as quickly as possible. That is why I have tabled this amendment to be voted on in the House of Commons.
“In May, John Swinney dismissed Cosla’s suggestion that the local authorities should manages these assets, instead stating that a new organisation – the Crown Estate in Scotland – will be granted control.
“This was disappointing, but not surprising. The SNP are intent on centralising power in Edinburgh and shy away from any moves to devolve responsibility to the Scottish islands.”
Mr Carmichael said the purpose of his amendment was to ensure that the devolution of the Crown Estate to the island communities was guaranteed before the Crown Estate as a whole was devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
He added: “We can all imagine how, once control is passed to the Scottish government the need to deliver to the isles becomes less urgent.”