THE Tories have been accused of “pre-election bribery” and “insulting” Scottish voters after another devolution funding snub.

On Sunday, Rishi Sunak announced a £1.1 billion fund that will be divided up amongst 55 different towns across the UK, with each town being given £20 million in cash over 10 years.

A total of seven Scottish towns were included in the funding round, but SNP politicians were quick to criticise the decision to bypass the Scottish Parliament and not provide the funding through Barnett Consequentials.

The Scottish Government said they were “disappointed” they were not consulted ahead of the decision.

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Previously, the UK Government has been criticised for funding projects in Scotland that are in devolved areas under the guise of “Levelling Up”.

Elgin, in Moray Council, Greenock, Inverclyde, Irvine, North Ayrshire, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, and Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, were named as towns who will receive funding.

Elgin is in Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s constituency of Moray, while Dumfries and Galloway is represented at Westminster by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

Anum Qaisar MP (below), the SNP’s levelling up spokesperson, said: “After over a decade of being overlooked by the Westminster Conservative establishment, this promise of additional funding comes too little too late for many Scottish households.

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“These are people who have borne the brunt of Tory cuts and austerity on their communities - all exacerbated by the cost of living crisis and continual economic incompetence from the UK Government.”

Qaisar said Sunak’s tactics are “as transparent as they are insulting”.

“If the Tories were serious about these commitments, they would have consulted with the Scottish Government in the normal manner via the Barnett Formula,” she added.

“This would have ensured that the needs of Scotland’s communities align with Scotland’s economic priorities. Yet Westminster continues to dictate our local affairs with relentless power grabs that undermine both our parliament and our people."

Writing on X/Twitter, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North Gavin Newlands said the announcement was an “act of pre-election bribery”.

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“Local authorities, devolved Governments or MPs were neither consulted with nor informed about.

“Was Paisley or anywhere in Renfrewshire considered?

“In a bizarre coincidence, Tory seats just happen to be hugely overrepresented…”

Of the 55 towns named, seven are in Scotland, four in Wales, and the remaining 42 towns are in England, largely the north.

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While the Scottish Government welcomes all extra funding for Scotland, it would be much better if provided to the Scottish Government via the Barnett Formula in the normal manner.

“It is extremely disappointing that we have not been consulted on how the investment could be prioritised to complement our ongoing work, and we are unclear on how the priority locations have been identified.

“We will nevertheless work with the UK Government and local authorities to ensure the impact of this investment can be properly realised.”

Earlier, on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross was asked if the funding announcement was another devolution snub.

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“Devolution is about Scotland’s two governments delivering for the area,” he said.

Asked why the UK Government wouldn’t provide the funding through Barnett Consequentials, Ross said: “It’s nothing to do with how it's supposed to be.

“This is 55 local authorities across the United Kingdom are getting an additional £1.1 billion pounds cash injection from the UK Government and that's going directly to local authorities here in Scotland because they know best how to spend the money in their local area.

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“I would hope that the Scottish Government could understand, respect that and work with the UK Government and local partners to see this money really make a real difference.”

It comes as the Tory party conference kicked off in Manchester, expected to be the last one before the next General Election.

Ross used his speech at a fringe event to take a number of digs at the SNP and Scottish Government, claiming that Humza Yousaf’s independence plan is “rash and irresponsible”.