£1 billion of Scottish cash still under threat

15 November 2005
£1 billion worth of Scottish European funding is still under threat from the UK government. Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith today warned that despite the EU's failure to reach a budget agreement in the summer the UK government still wanted to see funding for Scotland cut.

Mr Smith was speaking from Glasgow where Minister for Europe Douglas Alexander and Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson had spoken to a conference of EU funding professionals.

Speaking at the funding conference Mr Smith said

"I had hoped that Douglas Alexander would come here today and give us some new information. I wanted him to tell us that the UK government had realised the importance of structural funding for Scotland but he failed to do that.

"European funding could equal a billion for Scotland from 2007 to 2013, but the UK government appear determined to give this vital cash away. That is a billion pounds we will lose. The minister made it clear that the government had not changed its mind and that it still wants to see a cut in the EU budget. That cut would be disastrous for Scotland.

"Yesterday the President of the European Parliament speaking in Scotland called on the UK to abandon it's budget position and find a compromise. Today the UK and the Scottish Executive ignored those calls.

"As a member of the European Parliament I have backed a budget that retains Scotland's funding. When Blair and Brown meet their European counterparts to negotiate the budget deal they should make sure that they do the same."