Scottish minister writes to UK over cancelled EU funds talks

The UK Government is set to replace EU structural funds with a new UK 'shared prosperity fund' post-Brexit.

Scottish minister writes to UK over cancelled EU funds talks Getty Images

The Scottish Government has criticised UK ministers for cancelling talks on how EU funds will be replaced after Brexit.

Investment minister Ivan McKee has written to UK housing, communities and local government minister Luke Hall expressing disappointment over the cancelled meeting.

It was due to discuss EU structural funds.

The money is used to reduce economic inequalities between regions and was worth over £780m to Scotland from 2014-2020, according to the Scottish Government.

The UK Government is set to replace the cash with a new “shared prosperity fund” (SPF) after Brexit.

McKee said he was told the meeting will now not take place until after the UK Government’s spending review which is expected to contain full details of the new scheme.

In his letter, he called for the talks to be reinstated “as a matter of urgency”.

He wrote that he had “repeatedly raised concerns” about a lack of engagement from UK ministers and said it was “unacceptable that our meeting has been cancelled again with no option to reschedule”.

McKee went on: “We have been clear from the start of this process, that responsibility for all future replacement funding must be fully devolved so that the Scottish Government can target them in a manner that suits the specific needs of Scotland’s people, communities and businesses.”

He added that “keeping the Scottish Government and the other devolved nations at arm’s length” was counterproductive and called for “regular and respectful four-nation and bilateral engagement”.

A UK Government spokesman said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s enthusiasm to work with us on the UK’s SPF, which will mean UK Government investment across Scotland.

“This is in sharp contrast to their refusal to work with us on the union connectivity review, their objection to UK-wide spending powers in the Internal Market Bill and their reluctance to discuss a freeport for Scotland.

“We continue to work closely with all interested parties across the UK whilst developing the SPF.”

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