Show me the money challenges Harper

An allegation has been made by the SNP that Westminster has short-changed areas like Galloway in their contribution to the economy-boosting Borderland Deal.

The accusation that the UK government contribution is £20m short comes from the area’s SNP regional MSP Emma Harper.

She said: “While SNP ministers have announced an £85 million injection in the region, the UK government has only committed £65 million – with the rest of their investment destined for projects on the English side of the border, to the tune of £200 million.

She commented: “This is a very welcome step in unlocking the potential of the south of Scotland – to create new jobs and grow the local economy. But it’s hard not to feel let down by the UK government, who are once again selling Scotland short by £20 million.

“While it seems the SNP is the only party serious about jobs and investment, there’s still time for the Tories to raise their ambition and match the Scottish Government’s support for the region.

“People are getting fed up of the UK government over-promising and under-delivering. That’s over £400 million they now owe by underspending on growth deals – it’s time they paid up.”

However, her accusation was totally rejected by the UK Government which claims it is paying more than its fair share to the region’s economy.

A spokesperson said: “There is no short changing - all £1.36 billion of the UK Government’s funding for City Region and Growth Deals in Scotland is 100% over and above Scotland’s Barnett Formula funding.

“Public Spending in Scotland is £1,500 higher per person than the UK average, and every year Scotland benefits from £30 billion of UK Government spending in reserved areas.”

Another source withing the UK Government told the Gazette:“The UK Government is contributing £265m towards a £400m cross-border initiative where schemes will benefit the whole region.

“We are working in partnership with the Scottish Government, not in competition.

“It’s a pity some SNP MSPs have failed to grasp this.

“The real hard work of turning these exciting projects into reality starts now and, sadly, playing politics will only hinder, not help the process.”

This week there was an example of the difference in interpretation of the Deal in Scots Secretary David Mundell’s hailing of new airport facilities near Carlisle being a boon to Southern Scotland.