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Minister baffled by calls to devolve Crown Estate to Wales – ‘Could someone point me to what the problem is?’

09 Jun 2022 4 minute read
Greg Hands speaking to the Welsh Affairs Committee

A UK Government minister has said that he doesn’t understand why there are calls to devolve the Crown Estate to Wales, calling on MPs to “point me to what the problem is”.

Greg Hands, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, was challenged by Labour MP for the Cynon Valley Beth Winter on whether there were any plans to devolve the Crown Estate to Wales.

Wales’ Climate Change minister Julie James has previously said that it is “outrageous” that the Crown Estate was devolved to Scotland and not Wales.

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.

The Crown Estate in Wales generated £8.7 million in revenue last year, which went into the coffers of the UK Treasury because it is still controlled by Westminster. It’s marine portfolio in Wales is valued £549.1 million.

But Greg Hands said that he did not understand why the calls were being made.

“I’m not aware of the – if someone could point to me what the problem is here,” he said.

“I see the Crown Estate delivering right away across the country. I’m not aware of that being an issue in the Crown Estate, and what could be changed or improved by the state of the Crown Estate in Wales being altered.

“I haven’t seen that.”

‘Good job’

Beth Winter, who was taking part in a Welsh Affairs Committee Meeting on energy in Wales, said that while there was a good relationship between the Crown Estate and the Welsh Government, the call was that it should be devolved so the funds could be invested in renewables.

“So there’s a distinction that she [Julie James] says yes, the relationship is positive,” she said. “But in terms of the distribution and how the funds are spent, there should be decided by the devolved government.”

But Greg Hands said that from reading Julie James’ evidence “she didn’t see that there was a problem in relation to the Crown Estate”.

“And I think the Crown Estate to be frank I think does a really good job overall, as indeed does the Crown Estate Scotland, and the Crown Estate for the rest of the country.

“And particularly the way they’re approaching the Celtic sea at the moment I think is being very fruitful to them forward in terms in terms of the work that they’re doing with the sector, making sure the Celtic Sea is ready.

“So I don’t I don’t see that being an issue. I think if I may, Julie James I think herself said that she had a good working relationship so she didn’t have a specific problem.”

‘Engaged’

Speaking in the Senedd in January, Julie James had said that she “completely” agreef that the Crown Estate should be devolved to Wales.

“It’s completely outrageous that it’s devolved to Scotland and not to us, and that, indeed, the returns from the Crown Estate go straight back to HM Treasury,” she said.

“They don’t even go through the Barnett formula arrangement. So, I have absolutely written to say that we want the Crown Estates devolved, and we want them devolved on the same basis as they are devolved in Scotland.

“However, in the meantime, and in the absence of a government at UK level who seems likely to do that in the foreseeable future, in the meantime, we have also sought to develop a very good relationship with the Crown Estates.

“So, both myself and Lee Waters have met with the Crown Estates to discuss the various potential in the Celtic sea and around the Welsh coast, where Crown Estate land is involved, and, also, actually, on land as well. So, Crown Estates own some land in Wales too.

“We’ve also engaged with them to make sure that we have as much of community ownership, community benefit strand in the auctions that they are conducting, although the money goes, as you say, back to the Treasury. So far, we’ve had an engaged and reasonable reception from them, although that’s no substitute, I absolutely agree, for having the thing devolved to us.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
5 months ago

The problem is its OUR WEALTH from OUR SOIL you closet n***e.

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

With that facial expression does he really expect to be taken seriously ? As for what might be the problem ? Well for starters, he is. Then we can proceed to list many more but I doubt whether he would listen or be capable of understanding anything outside his own bubble.

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
5 months ago

to be frank I think does a really good job overall, as indeed does the Crown Estate Scotland, and the Crown Estate for the rest of the country.

__________

So, the rest of the country is that old canard of ‘EnglandandWales’.

Anyone like to point out the absurdity of that to the Minister. You DON’T need hands …

Lebowski
Lebowski
5 months ago

The problem is your ugly mug you git

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
5 months ago

I’m baffled that he’s baffled. Is he sentient?

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago

The Conservatives have mastered the art of parading their ignorance as rebuttal: “what? What’s the problem? This isn’t a thing. Evidence? What is evidence? Reason and logic, that’s what we just have, isn’t it?” Don’t fall for it… Actually, does anyone fall for it?

Marc
Marc
5 months ago

He’s baffled because they’ve always stolen our resources, our water our electricity our coal, so why are the natives complaining?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
5 months ago
Reply to  Marc

…And everybody that earns money in our country of Wales (income tax goes straight to the UK treasury) and purchases (so does VAT).

We need to raise our own taxes and so does England.

‘England and Wales’ is NOT one country.
…. Just as ….
‘Russia And Ukraine’ is NOT one country.

End these imperialist occupations now.

All countries have the right to independence under the UN convention of human rights.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
5 months ago

Mr Hands is MP for Chelsea and Fulham which is, of course, inside the M25 circle. He is also the minister in charge of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Unfortunately, like so many Tory MPs he has a poor grasp of Geography and probably thinks that because Wales is not inside the M25 circle it is indistinguishable from the rest of the wasteland that lies outside the M25. Does he know where Scotland is? Probably not otherwise he might have wondered why that (unknown) place has control of the Crown Estate there. He clearly has yet to… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

The problem Mr Hands is people like Greg Hands. Of course the manisochists who vote Tory don’t help either.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
5 months ago

I am not surprised about the Tories’ attitude to us on this issue. They hold us in perpetual contempt.

I would like to know if UK Labour are committed to devolving our estates to us if they win next election?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
5 months ago

His problem is that his interpretation of the term “the country” is radically at odds with that of the Welsh Government. His “British” mindset makes that inevitable, but in reality he’s perfect well aware of why Wales wants control of its own shoreline. Fake ignorance, aimed at closing down the WG’s argument.

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
5 months ago

What USE is he?

Ianto Ffrainc
Ianto Ffrainc
5 months ago

“Baffled”? Or Bull****ting

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

I can tell this twp Tory Greg Hands what the problem is. We have the situation where our Welsh coastline is being exploited to the tune of £500 million by the English Monarchy & Treasury meaning our Welsh Government has no say or Wales the money it rightly deserves. And less he forgets. His Conservative idiocracy devolved the Crown Estate to Scotland in 2017, but refuses steadfast Wales similar devolution? Meaning the millions made that could benefit the poorest in our communities line the pockets of the multi-millionaire English Monarchy & Tory Government Treasury. Devolve the Crown Estate now! It’s… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

It;s not just the money is it, its the fact we are not allowed to control or benefit from our own coastline.

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
5 months ago

YesCymru groups will be holding #bannersonbeaches this Saturday and Sunday to draw attention to this total rip off. Get involved and make your voices heard loud and clear.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

Yes!!

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

Typical colonialist attitude, do these idiots think before they open their mouths??

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
5 months ago

Yes, he knew what he was doing. For him, the problem doesn’t exist because we’re all one big, happy country from Land’s End to Shetland.

Last edited 5 months ago by Rhosddu
Gareth
Gareth
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

And we should be grateful for it.

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