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Labour to pledge devolution of Crown Estate's powers

THE Labour Party is set to make devolution of the Crown Estate's ancient rights and responsibilities part of the package of proposals for greater powers for the Scottish Parliament, due to be unveiled shortly.

But this will only be with a view that they are further decentralised to community and local level, and will not sit in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, the Treasury announced that Crown Estate marine revenues were being used to finance over £14 million worth of support for 20 community projects in Scotland from the latest round of awards from the Coastal Communities Fund. In England, £17m is being allocated to development projects in areas affected by the recent severe flooding.

This all emerged as the Scottish Affairs Committee published a second report on the unelected Crown Estate Commissioners.

The committee said they still managed most of the foreshore and seabed in Scotland but were running it "for the benefit of the UK Treasury".

Glasgow MP Ian Davidson, chairman of the committee, said: "We remain convinced that the transfer of these assets from an over-centralised London to an over-centralising Edinburgh would not be sufficient, and that local people and local authorities should be given primacy in determining how these assets should be developed and how financial benefits should be distributed."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate said: "We are open to suggestions about further changes and will consider in detail any committee proposals that fall within our remit."

Meanwhile, the 20 projects in Scotland getting awards from the Coastal Communities Fund include Transition Black Isle's plan to develop cycle tourism on The Black Isle, which gets £123,504.00, to the Three Harbours Association's project to develop Cullen, Findochty and Portknockie harbours on the Moray Firth which gets £408,375. Around £170,000 will go to develop the Arran Coastal Way in Scotland

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