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Tory minister wrong to claim there’s ‘no public appetite’ for devolving Crown Estate, says Plaid MP

09 Feb 2022 3 minutes Read
Hywel Williams. Photo Plaid Cymru. Simon Hart photo by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

A Plaid Cymru MP has said the Welsh Secretary was wrong to claim that there’s “no public appetite” for devolving power over the Crown Estate to Wales.

The Arfon MP pointed out that almost 10,000 people have signed a petition in support of Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts MP’s Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill.

The Arfon MP argued that it is “simply a matter of fairness” for the powers to be devolved to Wales because Westminster has already devolved the power to Scotland. But so far UK Government has refused to hand over control of royal profits that have been generated in Wales to the Senedd.

In response to a question by SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Mr Hart said that there is “no public appetite at all” to devolve the Crown Estate to Wales. He added in response to Allan Dorans MP that devolving the powers to Wales would be “off-putting” to the renewable energy sector.

However, SNP MP Richard Thomson pointed out that “it hasn’t put off investment in Scotland”, in reference to the recent £700m ScotWind leasing auction, which attracted more than 70 bids from energy companies, utility firms and investment funds from around the world

Mr Williams said that devolving the Crown Estate to Wales would provide much needed revenue for the Welsh Government to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Currently, profits in Wales go to the UK Government due to powers being held in Westminster.

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.

‘Reap the benefits’ 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Hywel Williams MP said: “The Secretary of State has just said that there is no public interest or appetite at all for devolving the Crown Estate. By this morning 10,000 have signed a petition asserting Wales’s right to reap the benefits of our own natural resources.

“The Scotwind auction raised almost £700m for Scotland’s public finances, and to reassure the Secretary of State, this is not a new tax. In the heat of the cost-of-living crisis, Scottish renewable natural resources generate revenue for the benefit of the Scottish people, providing a better welfare service than that in Wales.

“Is it not clear that devolving the Crown Estate to Scotland has improved government’s ability to respond to the cost-of-living crisis, and so it would in Wales?”

The Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart MP responded, “Shock horror that that petition was going to be raised. It represents a tiny, tiny proportion of the people of Wales.”

Hywel Williams added: “‘Parity with Scotland’ is possibly not be the catchiest of slogans, but here, it is simply a matter of fairness. So will the Secretary of State now commit, in this Parliament, to the devolution of the Crown Estate to Wales?”

Simon Hart responded, “No, Mr Speaker.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
3 months ago

So that unelected dog egg is claiming that Welsh people would prefer to be ripped off by an unelected head of state instead of that money going into our society is he? What does he take us for? And who is he speaking on behalf of?

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
3 months ago

I think that we need to get all of our friends and colleagues to sign this petition as it has probably not had that much publicity outside the NC community. If the Tory colonialist wants ‘evidence’ then let us give it to him.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

There is no reason why the Crown Estates shouldn’t be controlled by the Senedd other than the UK treasury not wanting to lose the revenue. All this treating Wales like sh*t is finally making us wake up and begin to see a different future for ourselves.

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

What a disgraceful specimen Hart is. I suppose he knows that he’s due to lose his seat and this snivelling is to remind Johnson to make him a lord complete with £300 + Per day when that joyous day arrives.

Last edited 3 months ago by Quornby
Marc
Marc
3 months ago

“no public appetite’ for devolving Crown Estate”. I wasn’t aware that the Welsh public were asked? So what are you basing your opinion on?

Gareth
Gareth
3 months ago

Hart you condescending a hole, ” shock horror that the petition was going to be raised” do your job and help the people of Wales and earn the cash for a change.

Paul Hoskins
Paul Hoskins
3 months ago

‘No public appetite’ ! He is making this up. Until the public in Wales is asked for an opinion on this, he can have no idea on what we think. I, for one, am all for devolving the Crown Estate.

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

No public appetite equates to keeping it out of the public domain. Devolved broadcasting could address this lack of knowledge within the larger population who have no idea what the crown estate actually is and why it matters to us.

Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

It is a common fault of members of the Conservative and Unionist party to jump to the conclusion that others think as they do. I suspect it is because the believe they are intrinsicaly better, smarter more deserving than everyone else. Sad yet dangerous.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

I have come to the conclusion that Simon Hart hates Wales.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
3 months ago

I watched the discussions in parliament. AFTER Watching the Welsh minister for Wales i thought is position was the minister against Wales we have no hope unless we get independence

Dewi Williamswhat
Dewi Williamswhat
3 months ago

I viewed this debate today and was appalled at the monumental contempt Hart displayed for Wales’s ability to manage its own affairs. He was buoyed by a full House of Tory MPs in his support which give him huge confidence. This was quite an intimidating place for the lone opposing Welsh contributor to be. Hart’s arrogant statement that there is “No public appetite” for this source of revenue to be devolve to Wales was presented without any back-up evidence to support it whatsoever. Yet when Hywel Williams presents evidence by way of a petition Hart mocks it and dismisses it.… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
3 months ago

No public appetite for the devolution of the £500m Crown Estate is Simon Hart’s opinion only not the reality.

Nearly 10,000 people have signed an online petition by Rhodri Williams demanding its devolution as done when the Conservatives transferred power to the SNP Scottish Government in 2016. He cannot ignore the will of the Welsh people. I advise all to sign this petition and make your feelings known.

R W
R W
3 months ago

I wonder how many would have signed a petition to keep the Crown Estate in Westminster’s control? I expect the Secretary of State against Wales and his fellow “Welsh Tory MPs and SMs” would sign it but virtually no-one else. BTW, a Welsh only petition gaining 10,000 votes is the equivalent to a UK wide petition gaining 200,000 votes, which is considered to be an extraordinarily large petition by any standards.

Last edited 3 months ago by R W
Paul
Paul
3 months ago

Hart comes across as an English supremacist. Expect nothing from him but total and unending contempt. He sees Wales as property and the people of Wales as ‘lesser’.

Dafydd
Dafydd
3 months ago

OK – Here is his email address :

simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk

Im about to tell him that I want to see the control of the Crown Estate in Wales pass into Welsh hands.

Who will follow my lead?

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