Highland communities stand to lose millions from Brexit unless the UK Government commits to matching EU investment plans, MPs have heard.
It is estimated that had the UK not voted to leave in 2016 more than £320 million of EU cash would have flowed to the the Highlands and Islands and north-east over the next eight years.
The UK Government has claimed the cash will be replaced with a “shared prosperity fund” but as of yet no details have been produced.
Inverness MP Drew Hendry, raising the issue in the Commons yesterday, said: “So far there is nothing from the UK Government other than a name, that a Union flag will be on it and that it will be administered by the minister for local government in England.
“In mid-November last year we were promised a consultation on the shared prosperity fund would be published before the end of that year, but there’s nothing still nothing. It is unacceptable.”
Far North MP Jamie Stone added: “I have raised this matter again and again with the former prime minister and members of the government and again and again I have received nothing more than sympathy and flannel.
“The government has had three years to think about this and it is a disgrace that we still have no answers.”
Local government minister Jake Berry responded: “Many of the people who have spoken have repeatedly, repeatedly referred to us as being the recipients of EU money.
“This money belongs to the British taxpayer. It is taken into the EU. It is sliced, diced, and money is taken away, and then it is returned back to the British people wherever they may be in our United Kingdom, with a whole load of strings attached.”
He added: “We know in this country how better to spend the UK taxpayers’ money than they do in the European Union.”