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by Louise Wilson
14 February 2022
MSPs to quiz Michael Gove on ‘levelling up’ cash

Alamy

MSPs to quiz Michael Gove on ‘levelling up’ cash

Michael Gove will appear before Holyrood’s finance committee after the February recess.

The levelling up secretary will answer questions on the replacement of EU funding in Scotland, including plans for the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Between 2014 and 2020, the Scottish Government received €944 million from the EU’s Structural and Investment Funds – predominantly through the Rural Development Fund and the Social Fund.

To compensate for the loss of funding after Brexit, the UK Government announced the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Sitting alongside the Levelling Up white paper, this will provide £2.6bn across the UK, delivered to the regions and nations using a funding formula.

Scottish ministers have expressed concern about a lack of detail around how much funding will be provided to Scotland.

MSPs will question the secretary of state on how awards will be made, ensuring rural areas do not lose out, and the role of the Scottish Parliament on scrutinising spending.

In a letter to Gove in December, convener Kenneth Gibson said: “Together these new funds represent a potentially significant level of funding to be spent in Scotland which is not allocated as part of the usual Scottish budget process.”

Gove will appear before the committee on Thursday 24 February.

The Shared Prosperity Fund is due to be launched in April.

The Levelling Up white paper was published by the UK Government earlier this month, covering employment, R&D, transport, connectivity, education and skills, boosting home ownership and improving life expectancy.

While most of the paper applies to England only, the UK government said it hopes to “lead on delivery” in reserved policy areas and “work collaboratively” with devolved governments on devolved areas.

Gove said: “Our ambitious plan to unite and level up the whole UK seeks to end that historic injustice and call time on the postcode lottery.

“We will only succeed if all layers of government – UK, devolved, and local – work together.”

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