A TORY MSP has been slammed for his outrageous suggestion that Westminster should have more say in how Scotland spends its money.

Craig Hoy said the UK Government should take a more active role in scrutinising and overseeing the Scottish Budget.

The Tory MSP said that because of the “record spending” by the Scottish Government, as well as money coming directly coming from Westminster, UK ministers should take a closer look at Scotland’s finances.

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He asked Scotland’s new top civil servant John-Paul Marks at a meeting of the Holyrood Public Audit Committee, if he would support such a move.

The National:

The “cat was let out of the bag” with the remark, said fellow committee member Willie Coffey, who added: “The Tories no longer seem to pretend that they aren’t stripping powers away from the Scottish Parliament.

“Craig Hoy's ridiculous and harmful suggestion that the UK Government should be more involved in Scotland's finances comes as no surprise.

“The Tories have tried to rip power away from Holyrood and hand it to a Prime Minister at Westminster that Scotland rejected at the ballot box.”

Marks, who took over from Leslie Evans in January, gave a “clear commitment” MSPs on Thursday that the duties to hold the Scottish Government to account remain within Scotland.

There is “no appetite in the Scottish Government” for more oversight from Westminster, he said – adding: “We don’t think that would be necessary.”

Marks told MSPs there were “good conversations” with Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up on cash to replace EU funds in Scotland.

The National:

He took over as Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government in January this year after the resignation of Leslie Evans.

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Taking questions on the state of the Scottish Government’s total accounts for 2020/21 – Marks said the country was “shifting the dial” on key issues such as child poverty and drug deaths.

Marks was also grilled on why Scotland had a lower rate of Covid-related fraud than in England.   

SNP MSP Colin Beattie questioned whether the “whole picture” of Covid fraud in Scotland was “totally accurate”.

He said councils had told the Scottish Government how many cases of fraud there had been but “we don’t seem to have a grip on what the recoveries are”.

Marks said the cases of identified fraud related to Covid grants to people and businesses in Scotland was worth less than £1 million.

It comes as Michael Gove visited Scotland on Thursday to give a speech to the Colsa conference and face MSPs in Holyrood.

He was defending the Levelling Up Fund which has been accused of undermining devolution by directly funding councils in Scotland rather than through the Scottish Government.