CUNNINGHAM ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITIES

£9.7 million of Scottish Crown Estate revenue to be distributed

By Bill Heaney

Coastal communities, including those on the shores of the Firth of Clyde, will receive £9.7 million of revenue generated by the Scottish Crown Estate’s marine assets, providing vital support for responding to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The funding, which comes from the second year of devolved management of Crown Estate assets is up by more than £2m on last year and is more than double the funding available under the old Coastal Communities Fund.

It will be allocated to the 26 local authority areas which have coastlines, with funding based on their share of the adjacent sea area.

Argyll and Bute, which includes Helensburgh and the sea lochs, is to receive £1,115,864.35 while West Dunbartonshire will be given just over £1,000.

The scope of the fund has been broadened this year in response to COVID-19, with local authorities now able to directly support businesses, including third sector organisations, affected by the pandemic.

Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on communities across the country and particularly those people and businesses living and working in our coastal areas, which are often reliant on tourism.

“That is why we have widened the remit of these funds to include direct support, where necessary, to coastal businesses and third sector organisations.

“We have also worked to allocate this year’s funding as swiftly as possible to enable local authorities to help these organisations through the economic shock caused by the pandemic, and direct resource to where it is most needed in support of a wellbeing economy.”

“This year’s funding is a significant increase on the revenue which was allocated from the Scottish Crown Estate to local authority areas in the first year of this funding coming under devolved management. It will greatly help our coastal areas as we embark on a challenging period of recovery from the pandemic for all parts of our economy.”

COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson Councillor Steven Heddle said: “COSLA has worked with Marine Scotland to finalise arrangements for distribution of net revenues and welcomes their timely allocation to Local Authorities. We continue working on the longer-term review to develop an appropriate approach for the future distribution methodology.”

Crown Estate Scotland manages assets that stretch the length and breadth of Scotland, including agricultural and forestry land, most of the seabed, just under half of the foreshore and some commercial property.

In 2019, £7.2 million net revenue generated from the Scottish Crown Estate marine assets in the 0-12 nautical mile zone was paid to the 26 coastal local authorities. This is substantially greater than was anticipated prior to devolution. 

The allocation of £9.7 million being made in 2020/21 for coastal community benefit in Scotland is available on the Scottish Government website.

The distribution method for future years will be kept under review as part of ongoing discussions with COSLA.

The Cabinet Secretary announced in April that any funding remaining from the £7.2 million allocated in 2019/20 could be used to support businesses and third sector organisations impacted by COVID-19.

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