Scotland 'could miss out on hundreds of millions of pounds', warns SNP

Scotland could miss out on hundreds of millions of pounds if the UK Government does not fulfil its promise to fully replace lost EU funding, SNP ministers have claimed.

Scotland faces being left out of pocket following Brexit, say SNP ministers

The UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), which is intended to replace EU structural funds lost as a result of Brexit, is due to launch in April.

But the Scottish Government insists it has yet to receive any detail of how much funding will be allocated to Scotland.

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UK ministers previously announced the total value of the SPF up to 2024/25 would be £2.6 billion.

SNP employment minister Richard Lochhead raised concerns this would “fall short”.

He said: “Since the UK’s departure from the EU, businesses and communities across Scotland have lost out on vital funding delivered by EU structural funds.

"That is why the Scottish Government has repeatedly pressed the UK Government to provide clarity on how the missing millions will be replaced.

“We estimate that at least £183 million each year is required if the UK Government is to deliver its promise to match Scotland’s lost EU funding, but the levelling up white paper fails to provide any answers and we fear the SPF will fall short.

“While UK ministers say the levelling up agenda will help empower all parts of the UK, the reality is the Scottish Government has not been consulted, nor have Scottish ministers had any role in investment proposals or decisions that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

"New guidance on the SPF offers no evidence of respecting devolution or acknowledging the Scottish Government as an equal partner.

“We expect the UK Government to provide a fair and equal share of funding that fully replaces EU support, as UK ministers have pledged to do.

"Anything less would be unacceptable and levelling up will mean losing out.”

The levelling up white paper, which sets out plans to boost prosperity in poorer areas and drive regeneration, was published earlier this week.

Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, insisted it was a "moral mission, and it's an economic mission, and it's one that the Prime Minister is committed to”.

A UK Government spokesman said: “The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will at least match receipts from EU structural funds, which on average reached around £1.5 billion per year. Local areas will continue to spend investment from EU structural funds until the end of 2023.

“We are also investing £1.7 billion in projects to level up communities across Scotland, including £20 million from the levelling up fund to build a new market in the heart of Aberdeen’s city centre, and £20 million to regenerate local infrastructure in Dumbarton.”

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