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Todd: SNP remain committed to Crown Estate devolution

HIGHLANDS and Islands list MSP Maree Todd has reaffirmed the Scottish government’s commitment to devolve control over all the income generated from Crown Estate assets to coastal and island councils.

While visiting Shetland at the weekend, she responded to a statement made by land reform campaigner and Green MSP Andy Wightman, who accused the SNP government of having watered down its policy.

Meanwhile, local MSP Tavish Scott said he would continue to press the SNP to commit to full implementation of the Smith Commission recommendations, meaning not just the devolution of Crown Estate revenues to island councils but also the management of the seabed.

Wightman’s claim that islands minister Humza Yousaf had retreated from government plans “to give local authorities statutory rights to Crown Estate coastal revenues” were rubbished by both Scott and Todd at the weekend.

Following Thursday’s islands debate in the Scottish Parliament, Wightman had said: “It’s a real worry that Scottish ministers have watered down their original proposals.

“It sounds as though they will invite community groups to bid for a slice of any revenue generated, rather than giving local authorities statutory rights to the funds.”

Todd, who was in the isles to meet local constituents and attend the 50th birthday party of the local SNP branch, said nothing could be further from the truth.

“We will deliver what is in the manifesto – we are the only party that is doing that,” she said.

The 2016 SNP manifesto states: “We will ensure that Scotland’s coastal and island communities get to control and decide how to invest 100 per cent of net revenues raised from Crown Estate marine assets out to 12 nautical miles.”

Scott said both were wrong as island communities strived to take control of the Crown estate revenues as well as management responsibilities.

“This is not about money. It’s about the management of the seabed in Shetland waters,” he said.

“Those powers should be devolved to the council and port authority. That’s what the Smith Commission agreed and that’s what I will hold the Scottish government to honour.”

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