LEVELLING UP FUNDING FOR FIFE
I have welcomed the £19.4 million boost to projects in Glenrothes and Levenmouth but have highlighted the disparity in how funding has been awarded across the UK by the Conservative Government, with Scotland’s share of the funding just £177 million out of £2 billion, only 8.5% of the funding delivered.
This investment in the Leven Connectivity Project and Glenrothes’ Riverside Park is certainly welcome, and my congratulations go to everyone who worked on the local bid which I was happy to support. The funding will help to realise the vision of connecting Loch Leven to the Firth of Forth via an active travel route along the River Leven, and includes a new transport hub, electric car charging and bike hire in Riverside Park.
My commiserations go to those who worked hard on other bids across Fife, and across the country, but have missed out on much needed funding after jumping through hoops to apply for funds which have mainly gone to Conservative-voting areas. My constituency has two and a half times the unemployment rate of the Prime Minister’s constituency yet they got virtually the same amount of so-called ‘Levelling Up’ money. Glasgow, which has some of the worst areas of deprivation in the UK, got absolutely nothing.
We were promised that this funding would replace the money we lost when we were dragged out of the European Union. Recent analysis has shown that Scotland will receive about a third of our previous levels of funding and councils are having to spend huge amounts of time and money even to submit unsuccessful bids.
According to the Conservative Government, ‘Levelling Up’ is about creating opportunities for everyone across the UK, but it is clear from these awards that Conservative-voting areas have been favoured and Central Fife is lucky to be one of the few successful Scottish bids. I want to see a true levelling up for Scotland, to see our status levelled up to that of an equal partner of our friends in Europe and elsewhere. Scotland should be levelled up to match other prosperous, outward-looking, inclusive, democratic and independent nations rather than constantly being overruled and overlooked by the UK Government.