Money to replace EU funding post-Brexit should be given directly to Scottish councils, according to Michael Gove.
The UK’s levelling up secretary indicated that cash from the newly-created UK Shared Prosperity Fund should be allocated directly to local authorities.
Gove was speaking on the first day of the annual conference held by local government body, Cosla, with the event being hosted online.
The UK Government has pledged that the fund “seizes the opportunities” of leaving the European Union.
And they have stated that it will provide investment in domestic priorities and target money where it is needed most.
However, the Scottish Government has raised concerns that it has not received details of how much funding will be allocated to Scotland, with the fund set to be launched in April.
“We are replacing the old EU structural funds with our new £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund,” Gove told Cosla’s conference.
“That money will go straight to local councils in Scotland so that they can invest in local priorities, improve communities and place, people and skills and supporting local business.”
He told council leaders that the UK Government would work with them, Scottish ministers and others “to make sure that funding works for local communities”.
Gove added: “It is my intention that that funding should be directly allocated to councils.”
He told senior council representatives he would work with the Scottish Government on this.
The UK minister also questioned if “more might be done to empower local communities from Holyrood”.
Meanwhile, Cosla president Alison Evison told the conference that the “erosion” of council’s core budgets was the “biggest single challenge” facing local authorities.
Evison used her speech to speak out about both funding and the “increasing centralisation” of services.