Levelling up: 'UK Government will work with Scottish Government to make science superpower', says Michael Gove in new plan

Michael Gove said that the UK Government will work with the Scottish Government to make the country a ‘science superpower’, before Levelling Up plans were rejected.

The recently unveiled plans aims to close the gap between rich and poor parts of the country and will take until 2030 and aims to improve services such as education, broadband and transport.

As part of the ‘level up’ proposal, Glasgow will share £100 million of UK Government funding in a bid to encourage innovation and research and development work and boost local opportunities.

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Mr Gove said this will create an ‘innovation accelerator’ in Scotland’s largest city which will bring together expertise from the university, from the city more widely and from the private sector.

Michael Gove. The Government's levelling up department has ignored Treasury guidance on how to ensure its policies are working before committing £11 billion to spend in communities across the country, a new report has warned. Issue date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.

However, the Scottish Government has since rejected the plans.

In a statement, a spokesperson said Scottish ministers were not consulted “in any way” around the plans for Glasgow, and labelled bypassing Holyrood in deciding where money is spent as “unacceptable”.

Asked how the Levelling Up White paper benefits Scotland, Michael Gove, Levelling Up Secretary, told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday: “There are some specific elements where the UK Government can work with the Scottish Government in order to deliver.

"Research and development is one of those – we want the whole of the UK to be a science superpower.”

Despite concerns from the Scottish Government saying the scheme funding will put the devolution settlement ‘at risk’, Mr Gove said he ‘respectfully disagreed’.

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Levelling up plans rejected by Scottish Government before being formally announc...

Mr Gove said: "I enjoy working with the Scottish Government and there are lots of areas where we share very similar ambitions even though we have a different perspective on some questions.

"But critically, the Scottish Government’s been given the largest block grant ever since devolution was established in order to spend on its priorities, but it’s also the case that people in Scotland pay their taxes for two governments and so they want to see both the Scottish Government and the UK Government working together.

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"The money that we are spending on research and development is UK government cash – it’s a UK Government responsibility – but in order to spend it truly effectively we need to work with Scotland’s institutions, great universities like Glasgow and St Andrews, and also with the Scottish Government with ministers like Kate Forbes and the First Minister herself.”

Mr Gove said Boris Johnson ‘totally and 100%’ has his support with regard to the partygate scandal, saying he is a ‘great Prime Minister’.

He also commented that Scottish Conservative Douglas Ross is a ‘super heavyweight’ adding that he has assembled a ‘top-rate team’ in Holyrood which Mr Johnson agrees with.

His comment comes after Jacob Rees-Mogg called the Scottish Tory leader a lightweight.

Asked if he would ask Rees-Mogg to apologise, Mr Gove said: “I never invite other people to apologise I always apologise myself if I make a mistake.”

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