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Governance pledge

Devolved nations to get say over new regional fund

Pete Wishart

Peter Wishart: devil in the detail

Scotland and the other devolved administrations will be involved in decisions over a new fund that replaces money previously allocated by Brussels, UK government ministers have confirmed.

The Treasury has previously promised that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will match the £1.5 billion a year that has been provided by the EU prior to the UK leaving the bloc.

It was feared that European Structural Funds allocated locally to spend on various projects such as bridges and roads would be lost, or that Whitehall would deny the devolved administrations a say over how the money is spent.

The Government has now confirmed the governance arrangement in response to the Scottish Affairs Committee’s report on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Scotland.

The Committee raised concern over a lack of consultation on the design of the Fund. The UK Government explained that it has been engaging with stakeholders.

Its response comes ahead of the today’s Spending Review where more detail on the fund should be announced.

Within the response, Scotland Office ministers explain that £14 million has been allocated to support local places to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and details on eligibility funding will be announced in the coming months.

Scottish Affairs Committee chairman, Pete Wishart , said: “For the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to benefit people throughout the UK, it is critical that our devolved governments have a seat at the table where decisions are made.

“It is therefore very welcome that the Scottish Government will be represented. However, the devil will be in the detail and the UK Government needs to be forthcoming on how the devolved administrations will be engaged.

“The UKSPF is expected to start from next year and yet we still don’t know how much funding will be available. The UK Government must today clarify how much funding will be available each year for the UK and for Scotland for the first five years of the UKSPF.”

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