Scots ministers fear lost EU funds won’t be replaced
Scotland could miss out on hundreds of millions of pounds if the UK Government does not fulfil its promise to fully replace lost EU funding, according to Employment Minister Richard Lochhead.
The UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), which is intended to replace EU structural funds lost as a result of Brexit, is due to launch in April.
However, the Scottish Government said it has yet to receive any details about how much funding will be allocated to Scotland.
UK Ministers have announced the total value of the SPF up to 2024/25 will be £2.6 billion – with £560 million already set aside for adult numeracy programmes.
A cross-party report from the Treasury Committee estimates this is a 40% reduction on the amount the UK received under EU structural funds from 2014 to 2020.
Mr Lochhead said: “We estimate that at least £183 million each year is required if the UK Government is to deliver its promise to match Scotland’s lost EU funding, but the Levelling Up White Paper fails to provide any answers and we fear the SPF will fall short.
“While UK Ministers say the Levelling Up agenda will help empower all parts of the UK, the reality is the Scottish Government has not been consulted, nor have Scottish Ministers had any role in investment proposals or decisions that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
“New guidance on the SPF offers no evidence of respecting devolution or acknowledging the Scottish Government as an equal partner.
“We expect the UK Government to provide a fair and equal share of funding that fully replaces EU support, as UK Ministers have pledged to do. Anything less would be unacceptable and Levelliing Up will mean losing out.”
The Treasury last week said the devolved governments would be fully consulted on levelling up funds.