THE UK Government has been accused of spouting “shamelessly misleading garbage” about the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) after Alister Jack claimed the level of applications from Scottish councils demonstrated “a ringing endorsement of our true devolution vision”.

It has emerged around 50 bids have been submitted by local authorities across Scotland, including from the SNP administration in Glasgow, despite the Scottish Government’s opposition to the scheme.

Jack said it was an endorsement of the UK Government’s “determination to work as closely as we can with the people who best understand what their communities need".

But the SNP are continuing to insist Scotland is being short-changed by a UK Government that is “undermining devolution” by failing to give Holyrood a decision-making role in the process.

Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has stressed the city has been economically damaged by Brexit and reduced UK Government funding, but councillors had to put party politics aside and do what was best for the city by applying for LUF cash.

Kaukab Stewart, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: “The Scottish Tories are guilty of spouting shamelessly misleading garbage when the damaging reality is that Scotland is being seriously short-changed to the tune of £131 million this year alone.

“These funds are supposed to replace money from the European Union sent to the Scottish Government to spend on Scottish priorities but, since the catastrophe of Brexit, not only are the Tories bypassing Scotland’s democratically-elected Government, this year they are coughing up just £31m instead of the £183m Scotland would have received from the EU.

The National: Kaukab Stewart MSPKaukab Stewart MSP

“While Scottish councils will of course take steps to secure any funding available, Tory Levelling Up means Scotland losing out on transformational projects which bring significant benefits to businesses and communities.

“Since the Brexit vote, the Scottish Government has tried to engage constructively with the Tories to try to make sure these funds were delivered in a meaningful way, consistent with the devolution settlement and aligned with our national economic aims and ambitions.

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“Instead, the UK Government has undermined devolution by failing to give the Scottish Government a decision-making role – which ultimately fails to meet the needs of Scotland’s communities.”

Glasgow City Council has submitted seven bids for the second round of funding, the deadline for which passed recently.

The projects being considered include the M8 Garden Cap – which would see a complete reconfiguration of the Charing Cross area – the refurbishment of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, regeneration projects in Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Maryhill and Possilpark, and the Clyde connectivity scheme at Govan.

The latter project would involve removing the barriers of 1960s-style highway infrastructure and connecting the community with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Scottish Event Campus and Glasgow city centre.

The council says each of these projects is potentially deliverable before the end of 2025 if a bid was successful.

A successful £13.05 million bid was made to the first call of the LUF last year for the Pollok Country Park Stables and Courtyard project, which is now underway.

Aitken stood by applying for the fund her party disagrees with and said she would always fight for what was best for Glasgow.

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She said: “Glasgow has been economically damaged by Brexit and reduced UK Government funding to Scotland, while our citizens are increasingly struggling under the burden of austerity, rampaging inflation and a cost-of-living crisis that the Tories are unwilling to do anything to mitigate.

"As the city administration we will always fight for what is best for the people of Glasgow regardless of party politics so of course we are going to bid for a share of resources that Glaswegians, as taxpayers, have already contributed to.”

Jack said more bids had been submitted in the second round from Scottish councils than in the first which he branded a “remarkable” response which spoke to the “success” of the UK Government’s approach.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While any additional funding for Scotland is welcome, it is unacceptable for the UK Government to again be deciding how money should be spent in areas of devolved responsibility without any meaningful consultation or engagement.

“Levelling Up should not mean losing out for our communities. But the Scottish Government has no role in the fund’s governance, delivery or prioritisation of recipients.

“In bypassing the Scottish Government, the UK Government has introduced incoherence and duplication into the system, and is failing to ensure that its interventions align with the established approaches agreed between local authorities and the Scottish Government.”