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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Decisions on How to Spend Money in Scotland Must be Taken in Scotland

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Westminster does not know best when it comes to Scotland’s future.

The SNP has backed a top academic’s demand that decisions on where to spend UK Government money in Scotland must be taken in Scotland.

Professor David Bell (pictured) fears the Tories’ illegal UK Internal Market Bill is a direct threat to Scotland’s ability to combat poverty and rebuild a sustainable green economy.

Between 2014 and 2020, Scotland received £856million from the European Union’s Structural and Investment Funds.

When the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of this year, these funds are due to be replaced by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

But while decisions on how to spend the EU funds were made in Scotland, spending priorities for the replacement UK fund are to be decided remotely by Tory ministers in Westminster.

Economics professor Bell said:

“We learned in the 1970s and 1980s that top-down decisions on regional and local development from London don’t work.”

He added: 

“Whitehall doesn’t know best when it comes to understanding the needs of communities and business in Scotland.”

Commenting on Professor Bell’s findings, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:

“Decisions on how to allocate these crucial funds must be influenced in ways that reflect Scottish priorities and not wasted on vanity projects like Boris Johnson’s fanciful bridge to Northern Ireland.

“Responsibility cannot be reserved to Westminster, it must be devolved to Scotland.

“My constituency of Greenock and Inverclyde faces substantial issues around poverty caused by a lack of investment over years of Tory austerity and damaging policy decisions.

“Every other area of Scotland has its own local priorities and any money should be allocated based on local need, as identified by the people who know best.

“In short, we cannot trust London Tories to make the correct decisions for the people of Scotland.

“These funds are too important now and for future generations to let the Tories squander it on wasteful schemes driven by their twisted ideology.

“The illegal UK Internal Market Bill must be amended to put decisions on spending in Scotland into the hands of those who know the country the best – the people of Scotland.”

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