Welsh natural resources to fund refurbishment of Buckingham Palace
Plaid Cymru has described Westminster’s decision to increase the Royal grant as “heinous” and has called for the urgent devolution of the Crown Estate to ensure profits from Wales’ natural resources stay in Wales.
Westminster MPs voted today to increase the so-called ‘sovereign grant’ from 15% to 25% of the Crown Estate’s profits. The Westminster government claims that the money will be used to fund “the Queen’s official duties” and the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.
The decision comes just days after the UK Chancellor made a Budget statement committing the people of Wales and the UK to another decade of austerity and putting the tax burden on ordinary people at its highest in a generation.
The Crown Estate has ownership of land and assets in Wales worth £100 million with annual revenue of £10 million. Plaid Cymru MPs tried amending Westminster’s Wales Act in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, to devolve the Crown Estate to Wales, replicating the situation in Scotland. These amendments were opposed by Westminster.
The increase in the Sovereign Grant was approved by 464 votes to 56 in a deferred division held today (Wednesday 15th of March) in the House of Commons. All Plaid Cymru MPs voted against the proposal.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, said:
“At a time when ordinary people are being asked by Westminster to bear the heaviest tax burden in a generation whilst enduring twenty years of austerity, to almost double the Royal grant to more than £70 million a year is insulting and dangerous. What’s worse is that this money will come from the profits made from the Crown Estate, which includes Welsh land and assets owned by the Monarchy.
“Welsh natural resources are being used to fund the refurbishment of Buckingham palace. It is bad enough that Westminster refuses to give the people of Wales ownership over their own resources, but to use the money they’ve squeezed from our resources to give the monarchy yet more money is heinous and deeply insulting to the people of Wales.
“Plaid Cymru pushed for the devolution of the Crown Estate in the Wales Act but it was rejected by Westminster, despite being devolved in Scotland. There is absolutely no reason why the people of Wales should not be afforded ownership of their own natural resources.
“It’s easy for Westminster to tell Wales that we’re too small and too poor when they happily squeeze our natural resources to feed their water pipes and fund their palaces.
“It’s time Wales took its future into its own hands. It is clear that Westminster does not care one bit about Wales and until we demand a change, Westminster will continue to treat Wales with the same contempt."