Eight projects in Scotland have received a share of more than £170 million from round 1 of the levelling-up fund. Those projects will create new jobs, boost training, grow productivity and deliver tremendous economic benefit to Scotland.
Unsuccessful applicants who have passed the gateway stage will be offered feedback to support future bids. They will also be encouraged to reapply. Round 2 of the levelling-up fund is due to open in spring this year, and more information will be shared in due course.
I feel for the Secretary of State having to come to the Dispatch Box to defend his Government’s appalling record on spending for the devolved nations. Their broken promises on fully replacing EU funds look to set Wales back more than £1 billion over the next few years. Will he confirm exactly how the Government plan on plugging that gap? The shared prosperity fund will see all the devolved nations lose out on vital funding and is simply not good enough.
To be absolutely clear, regarding funding to the devolved Administrations, the first comment I would make to the hon. Lady is that the settlement for Scotland this year of £41.6 billion is an increase of £4 billion and is the highest settlement that the Scottish Government have received since 1998, so since devolution began. Regarding the UK shared prosperity fund, the European regional development fund and the European social fund are absolutely being replaced with no reduction whatever, as per our manifesto commitment.
As my hon. Friend knows from when he was in the Scotland Office with me, we have had a lot of engagement with Scottish local authorities. We have been very clear that we will deliver the levelling-up money and work with those local authorities to practice real devolution.