News / Levies won’t be cut

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has made the case for further devolution after the Scottish government confirmed salmon farming companies would probably still pay the same levies currently going to Crown Estate if it lost control of the marine estate.

Mr Scott had asked Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead to specify the rent charges salmon farms, marina users, harbours and other users of the marine estate would pay.

The minister said: “Tavish Scott asked about the rates for salmon farms. We should not automatically assume that they would be lower.”

Mr Scott said: “That makes the case even stronger for further devolution of the marine estate not to Edinburgh but in Shetland’s case to Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority.

“Then any charging regime in Shetland coastal waters would be a matter for these bodies and not the Scottish government. I hope that the Scottish government will accept that principle.

“I simply don’t believe that replacing a London tax collector with one in Edinburgh will improve the Shetland economy and the competitiveness of the £200 million seafood industry that is so important to jobs and the future of the islands.”

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