The well-justified request by Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles for more powers (your report, 18 July) exactly mirrors Scotland’s need for those same powers. And the arguments are the same for Scotland too: “remoteness from the centre of power” and the necessity, as well as the desire, to “control our own destiny”. The Scottish “Crown Estates” belong to Scotland and they are devolved to Scotland but the management of them is controlled by an organisation registered in England so that the entire revenue from the sea bed, the coast, and all other properties, goes straight to the Treasury in London.
Under correct devolution this revenue should be raised and spent locally for the benefit of the people who live there – in Scotland in general and in local authorities and local communities in particular.
The Scottish Government has made requests for this anomaly to be sorted without any proper response, despite our being 14 years into devolution. The Westminster government is one of the most centralised of any democracy and does not (as other EU countries do) devolve appropriate powers to the most local level possible – so-called “subsidiarity”.
This means huge amounts of tax and revenue are drained from Scotland to London (along with power and people) and only about half comes back as grant, with all sorts of constraint on how it is spent.
When Scotland has proper powers over her own resources it is up to the people of Scotland to ensure that the government of Scotland continues to devolve as many of these powers as possible to the next levels – starting with the island communities of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.
Susan FG Forde