SNP wants extra £337million for Scotland as Brexit funding row with Westminster boils over
Scotland is losing millions of pounds in funding as a result of Brexit that will lead to a deficit of £337million, a Scottish Government minister has said
Speaking ahead of a Scottish parliamentary debate on Wednesday afternoon, employment minister Richard Lochhead accused the UK Government of reneging on its promise to replace lost EU funding in full.
The UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which was introduced to replace previous EU funding, leaves Scotland at least £151million worse off in the first year of the scheme, Mr Lochhead said.
Arrangements announced by the Government earlier this month will see Scotland allocated £32million for 2022/23.
But Scottish ministers have hit out at the funding from the UKSPF, saying it is £151million short of the £183million they estimate to be an appropriate replacement for the EU Structural Funds.
Scotland would then receive a further £55million in 2023/24 and £125million in 2024/25, it is understood.
The Scottish Government has said a sum of £162million would be required each year to replace the funding from the European Development Fund and the European Social Fund, increasing to £183million each year when LEADER funding and the EU Territorial Cooperation Programmes are included.
Mr Lochhead adds that the UK Government has allocated £212million in its first three years, which equates to £337million less than what the SNP say Scotland would have received in EU funding.
He said: “The UK Government promised that Scotland would not lose out as a result of Brexit, as lost EU funding would be replaced in full through its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
“In order to fulfil this promise, the Scottish Government estimates that £183million per year would be needed to replace the various streams of EU funding.
“In its first three years, the UK Government has allocated only £212million through the UKSPF, which is only 39 percent of the required £549million replacement amount.”
Mr Lochhead also said the Scottish Government is given no say in how the funds would be spent in Scotland.
He added: “For more than two years we have called on the UK Government to ensure Scottish Government ministers could shape and align this new fund, sharing across a broad spectrum of groups, as was done with European funding.
“Instead, the UK Government is the sole decision-maker for how this funding is used.
“While local authorities will receive Scottish Government support in delivering investment plans, it is deeply concerning the allocation of funding does not include community groups and the third sector which are crucial in tackling poverty and inequality during this cost-of-living crisis.”