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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-33363
Asked by: Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 18 November 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on replacing the European structural funds that will be lost to Scotland as a result of leaving the EU.

Current status: Answered by Ivan McKee on 19 November 2020


Answer

Structural Funds have been key to Scotland’s economic development over the past 40 years, investing more than £5.6 billion into a wide range of projects. As the United Kingdom crashes out of the EU at the end of next month so Scotland will no longer have access to such funds.

Since the UK Government announced its intention to establish a UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to replace these funds in 2018, it has failed to engage meaningfully with the devolved nations, providing no detail on how such a fund might work, how much funding will be available and what it will fund in future. Scottish Ministers and officials continue to try to engage with the UK Government to secure the information needed to plan for the future. However, the Scottish Government has also sought to develop a position on future funding priorities to ensure Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities are met.

Today the Scottish Government is publishing its proposals for a Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund. They can be found at https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781800043312 .

This paper has been produced following 12 months of extensive consultation with stakeholders around Scotland and with the support of an expert Steering Group, co-chaired by Professor David Bell of University of Stirling and Professor John Bachtler of University of Strathclyde. I want to thank Professors Bell and Bachtler and all the members of the Steering Group wholeheartedly for giving so generously of their time and expertise. Their work has significantly informed the development of these proposals.

The Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund will aim to address and reduce economic and social disparity within and between places and people in Scotland through a partnership approach, It will focus on four key areas of investment – empowering places, reducing poverty, enhancing wellbeing, and increasing skills, growing business and jobs. These will be underpinned by two horizontal themes – wellbeing and climate change - which will be integrated in all activity delivered through the fund, thus ensuring this funding works to help achieve inclusive growth and meet the commitments to address climate change and achieve net zero emissions.

Work is now underway to develop policy around the practicalities of operating the Fund and Scottish Ministers will keep Parliament updated of progress. Scotland’s stakeholders will play a central role in the approach that we propose to take and its wider development. Local Authorities, our enterprise agencies and community groups will be integral to our plans and we will build on their expertise when we roll out this programme.

Scottish Ministers and officials will continue to press the UK Government for full replacement of all lost EU structural funds. The UK Government may announce details of the UKSPF as part of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. It is essential that Scotland doesn’t lose out financially going forward and must receive at least £1.283 billion for a replacement 7 year programme for 2021 – 2027 to replace the EU Structural Funds, the European Territorial Cooperation and LEADER Programmes; equivalent to £183 million each year. The Scottish Government will also expect full control over replacement funding being given to Scotland. Ongoing attempts by the UK Government to undermine the devolution settlement in relation to powers and funding in this area will continue to be resisted vigorously.