Row after Dundee leaders accused of 'dereliction of duty' over levelling up fund

Council leaders in Dundee have been accused of an "inexcusable dereliction of duty" for failing to submit a bid in the first round of the UK Government’s levelling up fund.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden suggested the SNP administration could have cost the city tens of millions of pounds.

But council leader John Alexander accused Mr Golden of peddling "pathetic nonsense" and insisted Dundee will be submitting a bid in future.

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Local authorities can bid for up to £20m in support from the levelling up fund for each parliamentary constituency in their area.

They can also apply for a grant for a further project relating to transport.

It has been reported this could have seen £90 million of investment in Dundee alone.

Eight Scottish councils submitted successful bids as part of the first round of funding.

Dundee was listed in March 2021 as a "category 1" area, meaning the UK Government considered it one of the areas most in need of investment.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said the failure to apply in the first round "could have cost the city tens of millions of pounds".

He said: "It appears the UK Government recognised that Dundee was a high priority area when it came to levelling up.

"But for some reason the council disagrees and thinks the money should be spent in other parts of the country.

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"This is an inexcusable dereliction of duty at council level and the price could be really quite severe."

He added: "Many will suspect a political motivation from an SNP administration that doesn't want to be seen to be taking UK Government money."

Mr Alexander called his comments “ill-informed”.

He said: "It’s a four-year bidding opportunity. The UK Government open the bids every year over a four-year period and invite bids from all local authorities."

He added: "What we’re working on are significant projects that will benefit the city and the wider region, and they are of a scale and magnitude that takes time to go through that process.”

Mr Alexander added: “I’m not going to rush to submit a bid that fails.

"I would rather take a year or two to get it right, to get all our ducks in a row, so that when we submit our bid it’s successful.”

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