Stronger Towns Fund

– in the Scottish Parliament on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s response is to the United Kingdom Government’s stronger towns fund. (S5F-03121)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

To be honest, it is hard to know what our response should be, because the UK Government has been unable to confirm any details of the funding implications of the announcement for Scotland. We will continue to press the UK Government to ensure that Scotland receives its fair share of any additional funding. As with so many things related to Brexit, the UK Government’s plans are, frankly, as clear as mud, but they suggest that Scotland is continually being short changed.

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

I acknowledge the First Minister’s point that much of the process is unclear. Does she share my concerns about the exclusion of Scotland and Wales from the Prime Minister’s Brexit bung? Does she agree that it is yet another example of the failing fiasco of Tory Brexit, which one of the Prime Minister’s Tory cabinet ministers said was like hitting an iceberg, and that it is surpassed only by the complete inadequacy of the 13 Tory MPs from Scotland, each of whom represents a constituency that voted to remain in the European Union, and their failure to stand up for Scotland?

The First Minister:

Those points are important. Not only do we have no clarity on the stronger towns fund or whether Scotland will get any share of it, let alone a fair share, we still have no clarity regarding the future of structural funds or the so-called shared prosperity fund. We have also heard that the UK Government is to provide an additional £140 million to Northern Ireland, but there is no indication of equivalent consequential funding for Scotland or Wales. We welcome the additional funding for Northern Ireland, but there must be confirmation that Scotland and Wales will be treated fairly.

In sharp contrast to the Prime Minister’s Brexit bung, this morning, the Scottish Government has announced the projects that will benefit from our £20 million regeneration capital grant fund. That is not money to persuade anybody to vote for anybody; it is just money to ensure the regeneration of communities the length and breadth of Scotland. That shows a Government that is getting on with the day job, and the UK Government could learn lots of lessons from us.