Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Europe, Tavish Scott MSP, today took the UK government to task for its cavalier approach to Brexit as freedom of information requests revealed that local authorities are set to be deprived of £46 million per year in EU funding.
According to the figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 30 of the 32 councils, in the past four years over £127 million of funding has been assigned to Scotland’s local authorities from EU sources.
In 2015/16, EU funding to Scottish local authorities totalled £46 million, covering everything from youth employment services in Aberdeenshire, road infrastructure projects in the Highlands & Islands and small business support in North Ayrshire, to anti-poverty programs in Fife.
Mr Scott said:
“Councils are already contending with the SNP’s £500 million cut to their budgets this year. Ministers’ will next year raid local taxation to find £100 million to pay for their national policies. Now we learn that councils could be set to miss out on up to £46 million a year in EU funds too.
“In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, 35 separate projects have received EU funding in the past five years, while in the Highlands alone, £11 million of EU funding has been earmarked for future projects.
“From building the A859 in the Western Isles to Glasgow’s Youth Gateway program, EU funding has underpinned work in every local authority in Scotland.
“These figures reveal just how beneficial EU funding has been for council projects and the material threat posed by the UK’s departure from the EU. The UK and Scottish governments must now explain how disruption to these projects will be minimised and the loss of funding mitigated, especially in highland and island areas they have too often been only too happy to let lag behind.
“Liberal Democrats won’t accept a blank cheque Brexit and the UK Government’s cavalier approach to dealing with Europe. Voting for departure is not the same as voting for a destination. That is why we will vote against Article 50 being triggered without a guarantee of a referendum on the terms of our exit.”