SNP demand equal treatment
Mundell urged to come clean on £140m Belfast ‘bung’
David Mundell: SNP wants answers (pic: Terry Murden)
Scottish Secretary David Mundell is under pressure to reveal what he knew about the Tory government’s £140 million “bung” to Northern Ireland.
The deal is widely seen as a backhander aimed at securing Democratic Unionist Party support for the Prime Minister’s troubled Brexit deal.
The SNP is demanding Mr Mundell ensures that under the normal budget rules Scotland also receives a handout which it says would be worth an additional £400m.
The Prime Minister was widely criticised in 2017 for a £1 billion ‘cash for votes’ deal agreed with the DUP to secure a confidence-and-supply agreement when she failed to command a majority of MPs in the Commons.
SNP Economy spokesman Kirsty Blackman said: “The Tories are delivering another bung for the DUP, ripping up the rule book in the process.
“But if the rules are to be applied as they should be, then Scotland’s fair share would amount to an extra £400m for public services here.
“This problem lies at the door of David Mundell, who has disgracefully failed to fight Scotland’s corner right the way through the Brexit process.
“Did he know about the extra cash promised to Northern Ireland beforehand and did he agree to it? And will he now ensure Scotland gets similar treatment?
“If not, then it is further proof – if it were needed – that he is utterly unfit to stand up for Scotland as he is supposed to do.
“This extra cash for Northern Ireland comes just before Theresa May brings her bad Brexit deal back to Parliament – where every MP’s vote will count.
“And it is crystal clear that the Tories are delivering a grubby Brexit bung to buy off DUP votes whilst Scotland’s voice in the Brexit process is ignored.”
Matheson demands hauliers action
Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson wants assurances from the UK Government that Scotland-based hauliers will not face restrictions in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
The EU has proposed an alternative system that would allow the movement of goods until December 2019 if the UK Government puts reciprocal arrangements in place.
But Mr Matheson says this still leaves hauliers and major exporters unclear as to how they will operate in the EU in the long-term.
“Scotland’s hauliers and their customers are extremely concerned. Scottish Ministers are being contacted by businesses, including major exporters, who have not been able to obtain a single permit and are worried about how they will be able to continue to do business in the EU.
“In addition, no bilateral agreements have been signed with EU Member States, and no additional information has been publicly shared by the UK Government on whether these agreements can even be in place by March 29.”