Michael Gove has said he is “deeply worried” about the Scottish Government’s no-deal Brexit preparations, claiming money is not being passed on to local authorities most in need.
Speaking in the Commons, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said he has “scanned” plans published by the Scottish Government, but cannot see that money will go where it is most needed.
He told the House that the Scottish Government’s plans would amount to a “miserly” £50,000 going to each local authority in Scotland.
A spokesman for Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said the comments were “gobsmacking” and the Scottish Government and UK Government had allocated “proportionately the same Brexit preparation funding to local authorities”.
Tory MP Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) said there are concerns about Scotland’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit and asked whether the Government had spoken about measures to make sure communities are protected.
Mr Gove said: “The Scottish Government have published this afternoon their own no-deal preparations, and I scanned them in detail and I can’t see, actually, that money has gone to the local authorities most in need.
“A miserly £50,000 has gone to each local authority in Scotland, that is not enough to ensure that local authorities like Aberdeenshire have the capacity to issue the export health certificates that the fishing industry needs, and I am deeply worried that the Scottish Government, despite containing many good ministers, is not passing on the money that we are giving to them for Scotland’s citizens.”
Mr Russell’s spokesman said: “These are gobsmacking comments from the Tories.
“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be having to spend a single penny on Brexit preparations – this is similar to an arsonist setting fire to someone’s house and then complaining about the fire service’s efforts to extinguish the blaze.
“The fact is, the Scottish Government has allocated proportionately the same Brexit preparation funding to local authorities as the UK Government from the consequentials received to date.
“Local authorities can submit further funding requests for EU exit costs through the submission of a business case.
“This process has been put in place for all public sector bodies – and local government are not being treated differently.
“Virtually all of the £98.7m in consequentials we have received from the UK Government have been allocated – but even then, the true cost of Brexit is expected to far exceed this amount.
“We should not have to cut spending on public services to fund the Tory Brexit obsession.”