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Wales’ resources must be controlled by Welsh government, says Leanne Wood

Press Release   •   Aug 16, 2012 17:26 BST

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has stressed the importance of Wales’ resources being controlled by a Welsh Government as it was revealed the Crown Estate more than doubled its surplus.

The Crown Estate saw its surplus in Wales rise from £2.5m in 2010-11 to £6.5m in the last financial year in the wake of its purchase of the Morfa shopping park in Swansea for £80m.

Leanne Wood said: “Plaid believes that Wales’ natural resources, should be owned by the Welsh Government, answerable to the people of Wales and profits should go into Welsh coffers, not the Treasury’s.

“The new single environment body for Wales has the remit to look after the nation’s natural resources and this seems a perfect opportunity to take responsibility for Crown Estate land in Wales.

“The Crown Estate’s report on Wales also gives details of its purchase of the Morfa shopping park. People are entitled to question what is the purpose of its very privileged position if it is going to buy shopping centres? This is hardly the preservation of a natural heritage.

“They are a glorified quango, and since both the Labour government in Wales and the Coalition government in London have abolished quangos, it would seem consistent with their philosophy if they abolished this one.

Figures in the Crown Estate’s annual report show Christopher Bourchier, Director of the Rural Estate, earned between £600,000 and £665,000. This included a salary of between £145,000 and £150,000, a bonus of £30,000-£35,000 and as he will leave the Crown Estate in October 2012, £487,963 as compensation for loss of office in line with his contract.

Leanne Wood said: “I have said it before that high pay in the public sector needs to be tackled at a time when lower-paid public servants are losing their jobs.. Many people will be staggered by nearly £500,000 pay-out to Mr Bouchier as compensation for loss of office. That package is more than 21 times the UK median salary of all employees.”

The Crown Estate is also set for a multi-million pound windfall in the future from the development of wind farms on Crown land and on the sea-bed around Wales.

ENDS / DIWEDD

NOTES/NODIADAU

Links to Crown Estate reports:

http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/306352/Wales%20highlights%202012.pdf

http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/306356/annual_report_and_accounts_2012.pdf

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