MSPs clash over “backtrack” by UK government on £70m of funding for Scotland

Strathkelvin and Bearsden SNP MSP Rona Mackay has called on local Tory MSP Maurice Golden to make the case for coronavirus funding pledges to be honoured by Boris Johnson - after the UK Government backtracked on £70 million worth of funding for business and charities in Scotland.

On 2nd May, the UK Government announced a £617 million extension to business grants, which it advised would generate £60 million of funding consequentials for Scotland under the Barnett Formula.

However, the UK Government informed the Scottish Government this week that this additional funding would not now materialise, which will cause concern for businesses and industry in East Dunbartonshire.

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Furthermore, last month £35 million of consequentials was earmarked to the Scottish Government in respect of charity support direct grant, but this was amended by the Treasury to £25 million at a later date.

Ms Mackay said,

“As always, we must take funding commitments made by the UK Government in good faith. During the current pandemic which is significantly affecting all sectors of our economy, this funding supports businesses and charities most in need. Boris Johnson’s government pulling the rug on £70 million of funding undermines our efforts and the processes between our two governments.

“The Scottish Government committed to spending that money in the belief that the UK Government would honour its word – Tory MSPs in the West of Scotland should urgently seek reassurance from their colleagues in the Treasury that future funding announcements will be reliable enough to act upon without creating unnecessary financial risks.

“The Scottish Government has already had to take action to fill gaps in UK-wide support schemes, so the last thing we need is an additional financial burden put on businesses in East Dunbartonshire because of the Treasury’s shameful decision to short-change Scotland.

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“The UK government must act immediately to ensure the £70 million they promised is allocated as quickly as possible and in its entirety, so that the Scottish Government can continue to protect jobs as businesses in East Dunbartonshire.”

“The UK Government have delivered an unprecedented level of support to communities in East Dunbartonshire during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Only this week did the SNP Government’s own Budget figures highlight that out of the £4 billion being spent in Scotland, £3.5 billion of this was a result of consequentials from the UK Government.

“That didn’t even include the furlough scheme which has protected hundreds of thousands of people in jobs.

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“Rather than attack the UK Government, perhaps it would be best for Rona Mackay to call on her SNP Government to pass down £155 million in funding that was promised to local authorities.

“Every pound of Barnett consequentials will be honoured and Rona Mackay would be better off working constructively with both of Scotland’s Governments rather than trying to stoke grievance and division.

“There are many businesses still desperate for support in East Dunbartonshire but councils are still waiting on full assurances that every penny will be passed down to them.”

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