SNP politicians have come under fire after rejecting a Â£ 172.7million injection from Westminster for projects across Scotland as a “direct attack” on democracy.
The Tories insisted that opposition to a fund that delivered Â£ 20million investments both in a new Aberdeen market and in an overhaul of Inverness Castle was ‘completely laughable’ and should to “shame” nationalist ministers.
The UK government’s so-called Leveling Up and Shared Prosperity funds have been described as being ‘well below Scottish expectations and needs’, while ‘encroaching on Holyrood sovereignty’ by bypassing the decentralized parliament.
SNP MPs criticized the process in a Scottish government-sponsored debate on Thursday.
Michelle Thomson, who represents Falkirk East, said: ‘How on earth can a leveling fund ignore data for Scotland, based on criteria set by the UK Housing Department which ignores economic and other policies adopted by this Scottish Parliament, to be seen as more than a direct attack on democratic institutions and the rights of the Scottish people? “
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin complained that the North East had been ‘sold out’.
She said: “Despite the huge tax revenue my region has sent to the UK Treasury for many decades, Aberdeenshire has been placed in the lowest possible level of funding by the UK government’s new funding program.”
But former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie claimed the SNP had made a “tactical blunder” by tabling a motion that allowed the Conservative PSMs to compile a list of local projects that were receiving the money.
In addition to investments in Aberdeen Market and Inverness city center, Â£ 250,000 in funding was also given last month to Rannoch Community Trust in Highland Perthshire to develop a local hub, while Â£ 219,000 was awarded last month to Rannoch Community Trust in Highland Perthshire. devoted to the renewal of The Old Forge pub on Knoydart.
Douglas Lumsden, Conservative MSP for the North East, said: âThe UK government’s Leveling Up initiative is decentralization in its purest sense – empowering our communities, carrying out local projects and funding our local authorities to rebuild better afterwards. Covid-19. “
He added: âFrankly, it is laughable to hear the SNP accuse the British government of too much centralization.
Meanwhile, Rhoda Grant, Labor MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said none of the governments were doing enough to help rural areas.
âWe must also fight against regional disparities. The cost of living in rural areas is significantly higher than in urban areas, âshe said.
âRegional inequalities across Scotland are currently not being adequately addressed by an investment from the UK or Scottish Government’s Leveling Up Fund. “