Levelling Up

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 20 November 2023.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe) 3:43, 20 November 2023

Some Members may have an advantage on me in that they have seen the details of the allocation, which I have been handed just this second, so I will give a completely constituency-neutral response to the Minister’s statement.

However hard the Tories try to hide the truth, the fact is that these days, the word most people will apply before Britain is “broken”. Most people support genuine levelling up—who could argue with it?—but when the Prime Minister’s constituency got more than the whole of Glasgow last time around, and when most people think their high streets are getting worse rather than better, we have to ask what the real agenda is.

Will the Minister confirm how much of the money he boasts has been committed since 2019 has actually been spent? How does it compare to the overspend on HS2, for example?

The Scottish Government have decades of experience—Scottish Governments of various political persuasions, by the way—in successfully allocating EU funding, for example, in true partnership with local authorities. What discussions did the UK Government have with the Scottish Government, given their statutory role in culture and transport, and their role in pride in place, before he made today’s announcement? What discussions did they have with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to get a consensus view on what Scottish local authorities need? Or is this decision just being made by somebody in a ministerial office in Whitehall who is as out of touch with Scotland today as they will be out of office next year?