There are growing fears that communities across Scotland face losing out on millions of pounds in vital European Union cash after Brexit amid claims Westminster is “stalling” on the issue.
The SNP today renewed its calls for the UK government to ensure people in Scotland were protected from the potential loss of millions of pounds of funding after Brexit.
The Scottish Government currently oversees spending decisions on the hundreds of millions that Scotland receives in European funding. But it claims the UK government has failed to publish the details about a replacement scheme, and has broken its commitment to publish a consultation on the scheme by the end of 2018.
The UK government said engagement events had been held across the UK regarding the creation of a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, including in Scotland, and that ministers would soon build on these conversations by consulting widely on the design of the fund.
It added it would continue to work in partnership with the devolved administrations to ensure the fund works for the whole of the UK.
Final decisions on the design and value of the fund are due to be made during the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The SNP is demanding that Westminster commits to fully replacing the funds that Scotland currently receives from the EU after Brexit, pushing to ensure that Holyrood has full control over this money.
After failing to receive an answer to her question to the minister in the Commons last week, SNP MP Alison Thewliss has written to the Chancellor for urgent clarity on the shared prosperity fund and further Brexit funding for local government.
Ms Thewliss said: “With the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, the Tory government’s Shared Prosperity Fund remains a mystery, offering no answers on how much money Scotland will get, who will administer the funds, and what the priorities for it will be.
“Communities in Scotland could face losing millions of pounds of vital EU funding if the UK government drags Scotland out of the EU against our will and fails to bridge the funding gap.
“The UK government cannot continue to stall on this issue. The Tories must commit to Scotland controlling its fair share of the Shared Prosperity Fund and ensure that Scotland will not get a penny less than it would have received under current EU funding.”
A UK government spokeswoman said: “We are determined to lead a programme of national renewal post-Brexit by rebuilding and reconnecting communities, driving prosperity and unleashing the potential and creativity of hardworking people in every part of our country.
“We recognise the importance of reassuring communities on the future of local growth funding once we have left the European Union.”