TEN projects in Scotland will share £117 million of UK Government “levelling up” funding.

Almost £27 million is earmarked for Shetland for a new ferry for the Fair Isle while £20 million will help turn Arbuthnot House in Aberdeenshire into a museum and library as well as modernising Macduff Aquarium.

A further £20 million will be used to refurbish the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying the Government aims to “build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives”.

The UK Government’s attempts at levelling up have previously been criticised by the Scottish Government, which accused Westminster of undermining devolution by passing funds directly to local authorities.

Finance minister Kate Forbes has previously criticised the fact that Scottish ministers get no say over how the money is spent and pleaded with Westminster to “respect devolved competencies”.

Only 1 per cent of staff hired by the Levelling Up department are based in Scotland.

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Despite these concerns Rishi Sunak said the funding was “transformational”:

“Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.

“That’s why we are backing a number of projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities in Scotland.

“By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home.”

It comes as Conservative MPs were told by party leaders to avoid using the term “levelling up” and replace it with alternatives such as “stepping up” and “enhancing communities”.

How Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is expected to avoid the phrase is unclear.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael welcomed the news on funding for a new Fair Isle ferry.

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“After some hard graft on the part of the council and local campaigners in bidding for funding it is enormously gratifying to see Fair Isle secure this investment for its new ferry,” he said.

“Well done to the officials who put the bid together and those in the community who have kept up the pressure.

“I have been working with everyone concerned for some time and I am delighted to see their work come to fruition.”

The other projects provided with funding include plans to demolish and re-route the A78 dual carriageway to improve Greenock, regenerate a park in Fife and an area of Stirling, as well as redevelop a multi-storey car park in Dundee.