Devolve power over Crown Estate to boost Wales’ energy supply, says Plaid Cymru MP
A Plaid Cymru MP has called for powers over the Crown Estate to be devolved in order to help bolster Wales’ renewable energy supply.
The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has said doing so would “bolster Welsh revenues, increase our bargaining power with the private sector and support renewable energy deployment”.
He added it would also help with “ensuring that the communities in which this energy is generated will be where its benefits are enjoyed the most.”
The UK Government has repeatedly refused to devolve power over the Crown Estate assets in Wales to the Senedd, despite having given control over its holdings in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.
The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch. It holds the rights to seabeds around the British Isles.
However, powers over the management of Crown Estate in Wales are still held in Westminster, and the revenues go directly to the UK Government’s Treasury.
Speaking during an SNP opposition day debate on the cost-of-living crisis, the Ceredigion MP also reiterated calls for the UK Government to invest £3.6 billion over 10 years on insulating Welsh homes, as recommended by Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ben Lake said: “The crisis has demonstrated the need for longer term action, action for example to boost productivity, green solutions to help the energy supply emergency and in so doing, to alleviate stagnating living wages.
“We can ease the crisis in the long term by reducing energy demand. If we were to do so, we also quite simply put, reduce the fuel bills. A good place to start is to improve household heating efficiency.
“At the Autumn Budget, I called on the Chancellor to make a £3.6 billion investment over 10 years, in conjunction with the Welsh Government and the private sector, to improve home insulation in Wales. It’s well documented that the quality of the Welsh housing stock is poor by both British and European standards. Energy efficiency is quite a sight to behold.
“This would not only boost employment in areas that desperately need ‘levelling up’ through retrofitting schemes but would also address fuel poverty. A report by the Future Generations’ Commissioner in Wales has suggested that if such a package of investment over 10 years were to be realised, we would be able to end fuel poverty in Wales, bringing average savings each year of £418.”
Closing, Mr Lake added: “We also need to bolster local renewable energy supply if we are serious about tackling the longer-term issues as regards our fuel and energy supply. I would reiterate Plaid Cymru’s call for the devolution of the management of the Crown Estate in Wales.
“Quite simply – with many colleagues from Scotland in in attendance this afternoon – if Scotland can, why not Wales? Devolving the management of the Crown Estate in Wales would bolster Welsh revenues, increase our bargaining power with the private sector and support renewable energy deployment, all the while ensuring that the communities in which this energy is generated will be where its benefits are enjoyed the most.
“In sum, the Government needs to urgently do more to tackle the immediate crisis. The cost-of-living crisis is worsening not abating, and households and businesses need support now but let’s not forget about the longer term action that is required if we are not to find ourselves in this situation again in the future.”
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