The Scottish government was called on by MICHAEL Gove to issue a “disaggregated report” on how it invested £ 200 million to prepare for Brexit.
The Minister of the Cabinet Office claimed that he had heard “one or two voices of concern” from firms about how the funds had been used.
He said that the U.K. The government has given “just under” £ 200 million to the Scottish government to help prepare for the end of the transition era.
Gove made the remarks at a hearing before the Arts, Tourism, Europe and Foreign Affairs Committee of Holyrood, where he also claimed that he was hopeful that a post-Brexit trade agreement could be achieved.
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Scottish Tory MP Oliver Mundell expressed concern about the Scottish government’s “lack of transparency” on how the £ 200 million will be allocated.
In response, Gove said, “It’s the case that, as you say, the money the UK government has given the Scottish government to prepare for Brexit is about £ 200 million — I think it’s just shy of that.”
“But the most important thing is that there has to be accountability for how that money is spent.”
“He said he respected the settlement of devolution and added: “I don’t think it’s my job to tell Mike [Russell] or any other Scottish government minister how the money should be spent.
“But for how it is spent, they should be accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people.
“The UK government is audited by the National Audit Office and correctly raises questions about expenditure.
I assume that Mike and other ministers should have a comprehensive report to the Scottish Government about exactly how the money was spent, because I have heard one or two concerned voices from the business community like you.
“I’m sure the Scottish Government would be able to allay those concerns if they were fully transparent about this spending.”
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Mundell said there is concern that the Scottish government “is not passing this money on to businesses and local authorities and is putting off some of the preparations that we know will be necessary whatever the future trading relationship looks like.”
Elsewhere, Gove said that when it comes to financing plans for leaving the EU, he was trying to stop’ pitting parts of the UK against each other.’
Although Scotland has received close to £ 200 million, the Treasury has received £ 400 million from Northern Ireland.
Gove said it was a “fair challenge” to ask why Scotland did not receive a population-based share of the funding, but wanted to ensure “that the people of Northern Ireland are able to enjoy the fruits of peace and prosperity.”
He went on to say that the United Kingdom was founded on “solidarity and sharing” and would assist countries that had faced “challenges” in the past within the union.
If funds were distributed on a population basis, Scotland would be entitled to £ 1.4 billion, said SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson.
While the idea of more money for Scotland seemed to be dismissed, Gove said the decision would be kept “under review.”
“He said, “Pitting one part of the United Kingdom against another by arguing that it is not fair to support Northern Ireland… This isn’t the kind of thing that I’m really keen on.
My opinion is that the United Kingdom is founded on unity and sharing, and the United Kingdom profits from getting and helping those parts of the United Kingdom that might have had a difficult time in the past.
“That is one of the reasons why the United Kingdom The government spends the money it spends from Lanarkshire to Larne – and we want to demonstrate solidarity with those who may have had it tougher in the past, whether it is deindustrialization or other problems.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said, “Any suggestion of a lack of transparency regarding the spending of the Scottish Government is entirely inaccurate.”
“The Scottish budget is approved by the Scottish Parliament and published annually on the Scottish Government’s website,” he said.
We’ve got a choice here,