Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Richard Lochhead: Shared prosperity cash for Scotland falls short of EU funding

The Shared Prosperity Fund is to replace funding received from the EU (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
The Shared Prosperity Fund is to replace funding received from the EU (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

It is a “struggle” to understand how the Shared Prosperity Fund is a suitable replacement for EU funding, a Scottish Government minister has said.

Richard Lochhead accused the UK Government of reneging on its promises during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

Mr Lochhead said two “key promises” – a replacement to EU funding, and respect towards devolution post-Brexit – had been broken by Westminster.

He told MSPs: “The UK Government is offering Scotland £212 million over a three-year period – way below our expectations, and way below matching EU funding.

Richard Lochhead
Richard Lochhead has criticised the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

“The Scottish Government calculates that £183 million per year was required to replace EU funding.

“Multiplying that over the same three-year SPF period, Scotland should, of course, receive at least £549 million.”

He said the numbers do not add up, adding: “Levelling up, it seems, to the UK Government means losing out for all of Scotland.”

Mr Lochhead suggested the plans were an “aggressive move by the UK Government to intervene in devolved areas”, and said Westminster was “acting like this Parliament simply doesn’t exist”.

“We’re losing out financially, and we’re losing out in terms of our democratic autonomy as well,” he added.

Scottish Tory MSP, Liz Smith, she “did not understand why the SNP is continuing to moan about the Shared Prosperity Fund” when it is designed to address certain criticisms the party has held over economic policy from the UK Government.

But Paul Sweeney called the UK Shared Prosperity Fund “miserly” in comparison to the EU funds it replaces.

The Labour MSP referenced the Treasury Select Committee, chaired by Tory MP Mel Stride, which stated the fund is 40% less than the EU funds it is replacing.

Mr Sweeney said: “The UK Government should immediately increase the value of the fund to at least the level provided by the EU Structural and Investment Funds because we are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, a climate crisis and a productivity crisis.

“Communities across the country are truly struggling.”

He also urged the Scottish and UK Governments to put politics aside and work collaboratively on the funding scheme.

Conservative MSP, Maurice Golden, said the Scottish Government had put up a “baseless opposition” to the Shared Prosperity Fund, as funding allocation will increase in the coming years once Scotland stops receiving EU funding.

He said the motion “fails to recognise that Scotland is still receiving legacy EU funding”.

“As this tapers off, the UK funding will increase to replace this and by 2025 the UKSPF will fully match Scotland’s EU Structural Funds in real terms,” he said.

Mr Golden also dismissed criticisms that the funding goes against devolution.

Communities, he said, would take “solace” in knowing the funding will bypass the Scottish Government’s “woeful” public spending and be handed directly to local authorities.

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said: “Contrary to Scottish Government claims, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will match EU structural funding.

“The UKSPF will also get rid of the EU bureaucracy which has previously hampered getting funds into communities. By delivering UKSPF directly into local areas, the UK Government will help deliver local priorities.”

A UK Government source said: “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 (of Scotland) and right across Scotland.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal