Fort Kinnaird Retail Park

Situated in Edinburgh Eastern, Fort Kinnaird Retail Park is an extremely popular shopping destination, with over 14 million annual visitors.

Until June 2018, it was part owned by the UK Crown Estate, which manages a variety of businesses, properties and land assets for the Royal Family.

Every Crown Estate property and asset in Scotland were devolved to Crown Estate Scotland two years ago following the Scotland Act 2016 – except for Fort Kinnaird.

Despite repeated requests at the time from the Scottish Government to include Fort Kinnaird on the list of devolved assets, the UK Government refused, ignoring requests to come to Holyrood to discuss the issue.

And following the recent sale of the UK Crown Estate’s share in Fort Kinnaird for £167 million, it is becoming increasingly clear why.

Instead of the proceeds of this sale remaining in Scotland, and being reinvested in our economy for the public good, they will be heading south of the Border to the UK Crown Estate, whose profits are paid into the UK Government Treasury.

It is only fair and right that the income generated by my constituents and those living across Edinburgh, working and shopping in Fort Kinnard, stays in Scotland. It is because of them that the retail park is such a valuable commercial site.

At the same time as this money heads to swell the Treasury coffers, Crown Estate Scotland is looking to sell assets in order to raise funds to invest in the Scottish portfolio.

If returned, the £167 million would make a huge difference, representing 60 per cent of the current total assets of Crown Estate Scotland.

That sort of finance would enable considerable investment in sites across the country, providing crucial support to rural and coastal communities and offshore renewable sites.

I have written to Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to ask the UK Government to reconsider its decision to withhold the money from Crown Estate Scotland and will provide updates on any progress.

Read my column on this in the Edinburgh Evening News here.