Westminster levels up with £177m for Scots projects
Demolition of a hated shopping centre, lowering a busy dual carriageway and transformation of a multi-storey car park are among 10 projects across Scotland that have been awarded £177 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
The successful bids were chosen from hundreds of applications received for the second round of grants awarded under the scheme.
The Fund is designed to support projects that will drive economic growth, create jobs and help to restore people’s pride in the places where they live, in keeping with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policy of levelling up across the UK.
Nationalists claim that it is an attack on devolution as it by-passes decisions that could be made in Scotland.
The full list of Scottish projects that secured funding is as follows:
- £20m for the refurbishment of Kilmarnock’s Palace Theatre and Grand Hall, and a new park near the town square
- £19.4m to demolish the A78 dual carriageway to transform Greenock town centre into a modern, vibrant hub based around public squares and green spaces
- £19.4m to improve access to the River Leven in Fife
- £14m for the transformation of a multi-storey car park into a sustainable transport hub in Dundee
- £19.1m for the regeneration of the Forthside area of Stirling, helping to create 1,000 jobs
- £20m to turn Peterhead’s disused Arbuthnot House into a new museum, library and cultural hub, and modernise and expand the Macduff aquarium
- £9m for the demolition and regeneration of two failing shopping centres in Cumbernauld
- £26.8m to provide a new, lifeline roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle, Shetland
- £17.7m to turn redundant spaces and buildings into cultural and leisure facilities in Dumfries and Galloway
- £11.3m to free up land at a former coal-fired power station for green regeneration in East Lothian
The Scottish Conservatives have welcomed this support from the UK Government – part of the biggest financial package Scotland has received since devolution – and hailed it as “levelling up in action”.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Secretary for Local Government Miles Briggs said: “The grants received from Rishi Sunak’s Levelling Up fund will enable a wide range of transformative projects across Scotland to go ahead that might otherwise have remained pipe dreams.”
The UK government is supporting 111 projects which will share £2.1bn of second round levelling up funding.
They include the new Eden Project in Morecambe and train services in Cornwall, while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s own constituency of Richmond, in North Yorkshire, will get £19m to develop the Catterick Garrison town centre.
Among the biggest payouts is £50m for Crossrail Cardiff – a new train line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central Station – and £45m to help the Port of Dover operate more efficiently, including adding more border control points.
Mr Sunak said: “Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the investment would “revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential”.
But Lisa Nandy, Shadow Levelling Up Secretary at Westminster, dismissed the process. “It is time to end this Hunger Games-style contest where communities are pitted against one another and Whitehall ministers pick winners and losers,” she said.