Richard Thomson, SNP MP for Gordon, along with fellow North East SNP MPs Stephen Flynn and Kirsty Blackman, has written to the Chancellor demanding answers on why Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire have been deemed as a low priority for a UK Government initiative to replace EU funding streams which were closed off following Brexit.
Following publication of the prospectus for the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ - a £4.8billion UK Government scheme set up to “invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK", it has emerged that neither Aberdeenshire nor Aberdeen City are likely to receive a penny in support, with Aberdeen being placed in priority category 2 behind at least 123 other councils and Aberdeenshire consigned to the even lower priority category 3.
The SNP politicians have questioned why the North East has not been accorded a higher priority given independent research has shown that the North East is set to be the hit hardest by Brexit. In contrast, Conservative-held seats in England which don’t obviously face the same challenges right now, seem to be well-represented amongst the highest priority ‘level 1’ areas.
Commenting, Mr Thomson MP said:
“Listening to the UK Government in recent months, you could have been forgiven for imagining that this ‘levelling-up fund’ was not going to leave not a single pothole unfilled, not a bridge unrepaired and not a project unfunded across North-East Scotland.
“After all those promises and boasts it is disappointing, if not particularly surprising, to learn that neither North-East council is likely to receive a single penny from it any time soon.
“The North East has always done well out of European funding and continues to do well from Scottish Government funding, especially for infrastructure. However, where this initiative is concerned, the UK Government has obviously decided it can leave the North East of Scotland empty-handed. That’s simply not acceptable.
“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the UK Government is more interested in funnelling cash to projects in marginal Conservative areas in England than to supporting communities in the North East.”