MP presents bill to ensure that Royal profits from Welsh natural resources stay in Wales
An MP has presented a Bill that would devolve the Crown Estate to Wales so that the nation can ‘reap the benefits’ of the huge profits made.
According to Liz Saville-Roberts, the Queen’s property company profits from green energy transition while Wales loses out under the current system.
The Crown Estate pays its £4.1 billion profits to the Treasury, which normally pays 25% of this to Buckingham Palace in the form of a ‘sovereign grant’.
Plaid Cymru Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville-Roberts said that the current system was “absurd” and those profits should stay in Wales.
The UK Treasury and Royal Family were profiting from Welsh natural resources despite the fact that the Welsh Government holds many of the relevant powers, she said.
Since 2017, the Crown Estate in Scotland has been devolved to the Scottish Government.
“Today’s figures reveal the absurdity of the current devolution settlement and the inequalities of ownership in the United Kingdom,” Liz Saville Roberts said.
“There is no just explanation for why, after twenty years of devolution, the UK Treasury and Royal Family still profit from Welsh natural resources while Wales loses out.”
The Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill would see the Crown Estate being treated in the same manner in Wales as in Scotland, giving the Welsh Government access to surplus revenue from the Crown Estate in Wales.
Surplus revenue from Crown Estate Scotland is paid to the Scottish Consolidated Fund which in turn finances the Scottish Government.
Liz Saville Roberts said that this would address the “anachronism” that exists under the current system.
“The Welsh Government holds many of the powers relevant to the administration of the Crown Estate, including the responsibility for renewable energy promotion as well powers of consent of energy projects up to 350 megawatts,” she said.
“Yet, it has no powers over the leasing of the seabed. That anachronism must be addressed.
“That’s why this week, I presented a Bill to Parliament that would devolve the territorial assets and responsibilities of the Crown Estate in Wales to the Welsh Government, as has been the case in Scotland since 2017.
“While the UK and Scottish Government reap the benefits of a green gold rush, Wales is missing out. I will be urging Members from across the House of Commons to support my Bill.”
In the year to March 31 2021, the value of the Crown Estate’s marine assets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has more than doubled, rising from £2 billion to £4.1 billion.
This was largely driven by an auction of seabed leases for offshore wind development in February 2021 which could raise £879 million per year, or £8.8 billion over the next ten years, for the Treasury.
The February auction included ‘Bidding Area 4’ comprising northern Wales and the Irish Sea, covering 8,500 km2.
Powers already devolved to Wales include responsibility for renewable energy promotion and powers of consent of energy projects (up to 350 megawatts).