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‘Phoney war’: UK Government hits back at SNP in Brexit cash row

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has rejected accusations the Tories are short-changing Scotland since Brexit, amid claims of a “phoney war” sparked by the SNP.

The Tory MP responded after the Scottish Government identified a £151 million gap in money designed to replace former EU cash.

The SNP administration says Scotland was originally promised £183m but is only receiving £32m in 2022/23.

However, Mr Jack disputed the claim and insisted all EU structural funding will be replaced by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

EU funding will be matched, says Jack

The Shared Prosperity Fund will see £2.6 billion split between the four UK nations over the next three years, rising to £1.5bn annually by March 2025.

This fund is meant to replace the main funds the UK receiving from the European Union before Brexit – the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

Mr Jack said: “The Shared Prosperity Fund will also get rid of the EU bureaucracy which has previously hampered getting funds into communities.

“By delivering the Shared Prosperity Fund directly into local areas, the UK Government will help deliver local priorities.

“The money will go where it’s most needed, helping businesses and creating jobs.

“The Shared Prosperity Fund is in addition to the UK Government’s £171m investment in Scotland through levelling-up funds, and our £1.5bn in Scotland’s growth deals.”

SNP looking for ‘phoney row’

The Scotland Office said the Shared Prosperity Fund will actually invest £212m across Scotland and will be ramped up as existing EU funds tail off.

Officials said the funds are on top of the community ownership fund and the levelling-up fund which has invested £190m in Scotland.

They include £20m to transform Aberdeen city centre, £300,000 for Aberdeen Festivals, and more than £700,000 to improve skills and employability across north-east Scotland.

A UK Government source added: “The SNP are trying to turn this into a phoney row about numbers.

“They simply cannot bring themselves to welcome a scheme that improves on previous EU funding arrangements directed from Brussels, and which will bring huge benefits to the north-east and right across Scotland.”

The Scottish Government was approached to respond to the claims.

Yesterday, Scottish trade minister Ivan McKee said: “Since 2016 the Scottish Government has tried to engage constructively with the UK Government to ensure this fund was delivered in a meaningful way, consistent with the devolution settlement and aligned with our national economic aims and ambitions.”

Brexit cash row as SNP claim £150m shortfall

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