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Labour warned against ‘partisan’ approach over new Scotland Office plans



Labour warned against ‘partisan’ approach over new Scotland Office plans

LABOUR have been warned against a “partisan” approach to funding deprived areas if they win the next election – after promising to continue devolution-busting spending arrangements pioneered by the Tories.

The party has unveiled plans to task the Scotland Office with spending £150 million in deprived areas in Scotland – while by-passing Holyrood.

Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray (below) would be given control of levelling up cash to be spent on tackling poverty if Labour win power, according to the Daily Record.

But it has raised concerns Labour will use the money to boost their own MPs’ popularity, as critics of the way the Tories used levelling up money in their time in power.

Levelling up funds were introduced in the wake of Brexit to replace EU funds.

While most politicians avoid criticising the funding directly, many harbour concerns the cash has disproportionately been used in areas represented by the party of government as a sop to voters.

The Scottish Government has also raised concerns that because the money is awarded directly by Whitehall, its say is disregarded.

READ MORE: Scottish areas with Tory MPs win Levelling Up cash from UK Government

Murry told the Record: “If Labour is privileged enough to form the next UK Government we will turbo charge the Scotland Office with a remit to create jobs, drive growth and deliver the change Scotland needs.

“That means promoting Scotland’s world class produce, products and services around the world to boost exports and drive investment. Scotland is the best country in the world, and we will sell our country to the world.

“We will ensure that the government delivers for Scotland – such as establishing GB Energy, headquartered in Scotland, creating 69,000 jobs, bringing down bills and ensuring our energy security for years to come.

“And the Scotland Office will oversee investment in Scotland to create jobs, deliver economic growth and reduce poverty across Scotland.”

But the Scottish Greens raised concerns that Labour would be repeating how the Tories used levelling up money.

Ross Greer (above), the party’s finance spokesperson, told the paper: “Additional funding for Scotland is clearly needed to make up for 14 years of Tory budget cuts, but where it goes should be decided by Scotland’s elected Parliament and Government, not by Westminster.

“Levelling up money has so far gone disproportionately to constituencies held by Tory MPs rather than the deprived communities who really need it. That partisan approach can’t be repeated under Keir Starmer.

“If the Labour Party’s priorities are tackling poverty and creating jobs, it would make a far bigger difference to ditch their commitment to follow the Tories’ overall spending plans.

“Our country desperately needs investment, not more cuts to essential public services with a bit of targeted spending on the side.”

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