MEP asks Parliament to stick up for Scotland

05 July 2005
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith today called on the European Parliament to support key reports backing continued European funding for Scotland.

In today's debate Mr Smith criticised the "un-cooperative and destructive approach of the UK government" on the issue of regional funding. The UK government is planning to cut all European regional funding for Scotland. This would mean a loss of at least £770 million to Scotland.

The Parliament which has its final vote on the issue tomorrow is expected to back EU funding for Scotland, against the position of the UK government.

Speaking afterwards Mr Smith said

"Relying on the London government will get us nowhere. Blair and Brown have already shown they are willing to sacrifice Scotland's money. The good thing about the collapse of budget negotiations is it gives us a second chance to secure vital European funds.

"The UK government wants to end structural funding not just for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK and makes only vague promises about filling the funding gap. I cannot trust them on that, and I don't believe the Parliament will let that happen.

We need the support of the Parliament to secure regional funding not just for the Highlands and Islands, but for the whole of Scotland. There is 770 million pounds at stake here. Gordon Brown kicks up a fuss about the £3 billion budget rebate but has no concern for money that rightfully belongs in Scotland. Having the Parliament on our side can only help us keep that cash in communities across the country instead of in Gordon Browns' coffers."