On Monday, the Scottish Affairs Committee published its report into the Crown Estate in Scotland, recommending the devolution of Crown Estates Commission’s responsibilities for and ancient rights over Scotland’s coastline, firstly to Holyrood with the intention of further devolution to local communities.

Gaining control over Scotland’s foreshore and seabed is certainly not a trifle: this move gives Scotland powers over a vital economic sector. Currently, the Crown Estates Commission holds gems like mineral and salmon fishing rights, while renewable energy projects like wind farms and offshore gas storage facilities on Scottish Crown Estate is projected to generate an annual sum of £49m by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, it acts like an absentee landlord or tax collector, doing little to re-invest to any significant extent in the sectors and communities from which it derives income.

Interesting then, that Ian Davidson, Chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee, dismissed the Scottish Government’s demand for the devolution of powers over the Scottish Crown Estate back in November as “entirely vacuous”, telling Linda Rosborough, the acting director of Scottish Government agency Marine Scotland, that “Asking for power over the Crown Estate without having any idea of what you do with it is a position that seems entirely vacuous.”

According to The Scotsman, Rosborough advised that the Scottish Government would only bring forward detailed proposals for its Crown Estate plans and hold a consultation if Westminster agreed to devolve the powers. Pretty standard, and Davidson should know that. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the new powers devolved to Scotland in this week’s Scotland Bill, like tax and borrowing powers, air weapons, drink driving and speed limits needed extensive consultation in Scotland prior to the agreement being made.

Land reform is one of the best things to come out of Scottish devolution, especially local measures like community right-to-buy. I think it will hopefully be improved under this Scottish Government, with Roseanna Cunningham announcing an intention to review and improve the legislation within the year. It’s abysmal that the Crown Estate has failed Scotland since devolution: failing to account for Scottish rights and assets. It is entirely right that these powers are devolved to Scottish communities, but it should not have taken Westminster more than a decade to give Scotland’s coastline back to Scotland.

Davidson might have had to conclude that the Crown Estate Commission should no longer be the body responsible in this case, but for proponents of devolution as Labour MPs should be, the transfer of these powers should be both obvious and necessary. It’s disappointing that Westminster appears to be begrudging handing Scotland powers, just because they fear it might in some way help the independence campaign. If you really want to oppose independence, diminishing devolution which Scottish communities need and from which the economy benefits is certainly not the way to win.