SNP ministers have refused to accept UK Government “Union” cash to boost the Scottish economy due to political grievances.
Scotland is now expected to miss out on billions of pounds to fund new road projects because the SNP-led Scottish Government fear their authority is being undermined by the UK Government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the Union Connectivity Review to improve transport links across four home nations across the UK last year as part of his “levelling up agenda”.
Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, will report his findings on the review in the next few weeks which will see billions invested in infrastructure projects by Whitehall.
A recommendation is expected to include a concept for a fixed link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
This would mean a bridge or tunnel could run from Portpatrick in South West Scotland to Larne on Northern Ireland’s east coast, which could replace an existing ferry route.
A route further north, from near Campbeltown in Argyll to the Antrim Coast, has also been looked at.
A spokesperson for Scotland’s Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “Transport is devolved to Holyrood and the Tories should respect that, instead of engaging in a power grab which has seen them promise much but deliver little in reality.”
But David Duguid, Scotland Office Minister, said the level of engagement from the SNP led Scottish Government on the review was “disappointing”.
Mr Duguid added: “The people of Scotland are set to miss out on the benefits of this funding.
“Levelling up is about improving everyday life for people across the UK.
“It is about ensuring people can be proud of their local community, and have opportunities there to develop their skills and benefit from a growing economy, rather than feeling as though they need to leave it in order to reach their potential.”
He made clear: “We must aim to keep this level of collaboration for projects that affect our cross-border connectivity challenges, as well as projects where the benefits would be felt across the entire United Kingdom.”
In compression, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive are in talks over receiving a share of the cash.
Initial cash on offer includes £20million of development funding to bring potential projects forward.