UK Government Union Capability Independent Review

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 13th April 2021.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the report of the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability published on 24 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the conclusion on page 29 of that report that it is not necessary or productive to bypass the devolved governments in funding arrangements.

Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the report of the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability published on 24 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendation of that report that in devolved areas there should be a second portion of the same fund which is open to bids from UK Government departments and devolved governments working in co-operation.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

UK Government funding to support citizens and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland goes beyond the specific Union Fund recommended by the Dunlop Review.

COVID-19 has shown the value of collective strength of all parts of the UK working together and the importance of the broad shoulders of the UK Government in supporting the whole country.

Our commitment to strengthening the Union is no more evident than in the recent Budget, a budget for the whole of the United Kingdom, in which most of the policies announced were UK-wide, for example, extensions to furlough and self-employed schemes, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit extension, support for the armed forces, Recovery Loans Scheme, Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, Super Deduction capital investment, Help to Grow, visa reforms and the Community Ownership Fund.

We also continue to work closely and collaboratively with the devolved administrations to deliver various funding schemes, including City and Growth Deals. Through the 2021 Budget, the UK Government confirmed an acceleration of funding for 6 different Deals across Scotland and Wales and on 24 February, partners signed the Heads of Terms for the Derry-Londonderry and Strabane Growth Deal in Northern Ireland.

The UK Internal Market Act allows the UK Government to complement and strengthen the support given to citizens, businesses and communities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, to ensure we make the most of the opportunities provided by our exit from the EU and build back better from Covid-19. Powers under the act will be used, for example, to deliver the Levelling Up Fund and UK Community Renewal Fund in 2021/22. The UK Government intends to work with the devolved administrations and local partners closest to the needs of communities to make sure that these UK-wide funds are used to best effect.

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