MSP says Brexit funding pledge ‘falls short’

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A South Scotland MSP has said the Treasury’s pledge to replace EU funding does not go far enough to end uncertainty after the Brexit vote.


MSP Joan McAlpine, who also convenes the Europe Committee, said the “limited” funding was hundreds of millions of pounds short of what Scotland would receive as an EU member.


She also said that we need to know what is happening after 2020.


Under current arrangements, Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway get more than their population share of funding – particularly through the Rural Development Fund.


She said:


“It’s all very well for UK ministers to say we can deliver these programmes better, but we can’t deliver them better if the funds are slashed.


“UK ministers have failed to guarantee the same level of funds.”


At the moment the only way to deliver funds to Scotland from Westminster is through the Barnett Formula – which gives Scotland a marginally higher payment than the population share of 8%.


However, some Common Agricultural Payment funding from Europe is much higher – granting Scotland 18% of UK funding – around 10% higher than the population share.  Scotland currently receives other funds that are much more generous than Barnett would allow.


Ms McAlpine said:


“The Treasury has consistently tried to cut Scotland’s funding allocation, most recently when they tried to use the Fiscal Commission to slash our budget by £7 billion.


“They failed to do that because the SNP Government, supported by the Labour opposition at Holyrood refused to back down, but we know that the Treasury will see this as an opportunity to claw back money from Scotland.


“David Mundell MP, as Scottish Secretary is supposed to protect our interests and he must assure us that funding after 2020 will be maintained at the same level it is today.”