Calls for Crown Estate to return £167m grabbed from Scotland

An organisation that controls so-called ‘Royal’ land has come under fire after it emerged £167m from the sale of a Scottish asset has been kept in London.

The Crown Estate was devolved in 2016 as part of the Scotland Act.  The organisation’s Scottish branch controls land and buildings around Scotland.

However it has emerged that proceeds of a sale of a Scottish Retail Park has been kept by the organisation’s London headquarters.

The cash-grab was exposed by The National newspaper.  According to the newspaper the Crown Estate kept hold of a significant investment – 50% of the highly successful Fort Kinnaird retail park on the east side of Edinburgh when the organisation was devolved.  A recent sale of the asset netted the Crown Estate a whopping £167m.

The revelation has prompted calls for the money to be returned to Scotland.  Speaking to The National, SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The UK Government no doubt wants this shady cash grab kept below the radar – but Scotland is simply being conned.

“Just two years ago UK Ministers refused Scottish Government requests to devolve this site to the new Crown Estate Scotland, and it’s now clear that there are 167 million reasons why.

“Not only that – it’s a bitter pill to swallow that whilst Crown Estate Scotland is looking to sell off assets to raise funds to invest in its portfolio, its UK counterpart is currently undertaking a multi-billion pound redevelopment of its Central London assets – the funds from Fort Kinnaird would have been a significant amount of money for Crown Estate Scotland.

“Had this site been devolved, the Scottish Government could have reinvested such a huge windfall in transforming Crown Estate sites across the country, including Glenlivet and Fochabers estates, and villages and harbours in my constituency, and other sites across Scotland.

“Instead, the cash is disappearing from right under our noses.

“The UK Government needs to play fair and give Scotland the money we are owed to help support our communities particularly in our more rural and coastal areas.”

The newspaper also revealed the new buyer, M&G Estates, is a London-based fund which has already started moving operations to Luxembourg because of Brexit.

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3 thoughts on “Calls for Crown Estate to return £167m grabbed from Scotland

  1. Contrary

    Ah, so the serious asset stripping has already started? I was wondering when it would kick off, but seems like they are well down the road already!

    The whole thing,,, Scotland is used as a tax dodge by the wealthy, it isn’t seen as a country in its own right, with a culture and people that already own it, it’s like the land and resources are there for their use when required, and we need to just put up and shut up about it. The whole power grab issue was to ensure Westminster had full rein to asset strip, so this is just the start.

    I suspect that Brexit, even if those in power were selling it as a xenophobic return to British empire greatness thing which has somehow been attractive to a large proportion of the U.K. population; what they are actually trying to achieve is getting out of the EU before the new tax regulations come in that should mean everyone’s tax affairs are transparent (that’s how I understand it). No more tax and financial dodges? Well, it would make it harder I’d have thought, and would quite likely have made it clear how much of Scotland is used for their underhand money-making schemes.

    I have little understanding of financial matters by the way, but it is people that want to move money about in a secretive manner that are most keen on leaving the EU from what I see. (Not counting those that are taken in by the ‘take back control’ rhetoric). I know lots of people have lots of different reasons for wanting out of the EU, but I’m just saying that those driving it will likely have very different reasons, and it’ll be money.

    This will be small change, once they are released from EU regulation and Westminster have all those very juicy, specific, powers over Scotland’s resources, I am expecting a full-on asset stripping exercise where we will be pared back to the bare bones, again. Unless we remove ourselves from being under Westminster thrall beforehand, of course.

  2. millie

    Fort Kinnaird articles from 2015 and 2016.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34698630

    https://news.gov.scot/news/crown-estate-management

    The shopping centre generated £6m a year of income to UK treasury.- Money which could have been used each year in Scotland.

    It is a priority now that the £167m is given to Scotland from the money grabbers at Westminster.- Scotland is being asset stripped.

    £100m should be spent on the Mackintosh Art School.

    £67m to set up an independent Scottish media – like The Faroes.

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