MEP Raises Concerns Over Scotland’s EU Money

10 July 2007
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith has today written to Enterprise Minister Jim Mather and Chancellor Alistair Darling to question whether all EU money allocated to Scotland is actually ending up here.

Mr Smith's concerns come after an article by Jim and Margaret Cuthbert in the latest edition of Fraser of Allender Quarterly suggested that Scotland is not necessarily receiving its full allocation of EU funds and that the Scottish budget may be being squeezed to fund projects which should be wholly funded by EU money.

Scotland receives its structural fund money from the Treasury in London, not direct from Europe.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"The article raises some real concerns about how much money Scotland is actually receiving at the end of the day from EU Structural Funds.

"Over the next seven years Scotland should receive £550 million however if what Jim and Margaret Cuthbert suggest is accurate then due to a change in Treasury procedures we will in fact be receiving no where near that much and having to take money from the block grant to meet European commitments.

"A block grant that has not been amended to include this money.

"Under law European Structural Funds must clearly be additional money on top of standard government expenditure.

"This article in Fraser of Allender suggests that Scotland is not receiving 100% of the additional money due from the Treasury to meet Structural Funds commitments - are other programmes having to suffer?

"The Cuthberts were right when they pointed to accounting mistakes in GERS. The issues they raise now must be investigated thoroughly by both the Scottish Government and the UK Treasury to ensure we are getting all the money Scotland is entitled too.

"I and many others lobbied hard to ensure Scotland got the best possible allocation of EU funding for the next seven years.

"I would be thoroughly disappointed if what is actually happening is that the Scottish Government is losing money from its budget to meet commitments made by the EU when the EU has awarded the money to the UK as additional money.

"I am sure the Scottish Government will do everything it can to ensure Scotland receives its full allocation.

"This is a hugely important issue as we face what may be the last round of EU funding to benefit Scotland."