TORY Cabinet ministers have been urged to “have the guts to face Scotland” after failing to make any official public visits north of the Border for an entire year.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who has been in post since October 2022, made one trip to Scotland last year – but only to attend a meeting of the Privy Council, the advisory body to the monarch.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride, who was appointed in his role around the same time, failed to make a single public visit north of the Border in 2023.

The lack of visits was revealed through Freedom of Information requests submitted last year, which asked how many times the Chancellor had made public visits to Scotland in 2023 and the purpose of each visit.

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The Treasury responded: “On September 15, 2023, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP attended a meeting at Dumfries House in his capacity as a member of the Privy Council.”

Meanwhile, asked for the number of times the Secretary of State (below) had officially visited Scotland in 2023, the DWP responded: “We can confirm that following a check of our paper and electronic records, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has made no visits to Scotland to date.”

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SNP MSP Collette Stevenson said: “The Tories know their time is up and 2024 will be their last year in power.

“The Chancellor and the DWP Secretary have made some of the most devastating decisions that have negatively impacted Scotland – at the very least they should have the guts to come up here and face the people they have harmed.

Westminster is not working for Scotland – UK government ministers already don’t bother with Scotland; with independence we can get rid of them for good.”

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The lack of visits comes despite the UK Government opening regional hubs and headquarters in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, which came with a commitment to have a regular ministerial presence.

But a report from the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) published in July last year found this had not been met, with ministers “making flying visits rather than basing themselves outside London for significant amounts of time to conduct substantive work".

The Chancellor visited Edinburgh in December 2022 to unveil a package of major reforms to the financial sector to replace EU regulation.

Asked to comment on the lack of visits by Hunt last year, a Treasury spokesperson said: “The Chancellor is focused on delivering for Scotland, including through an average tax cut of £340 for 2.4 million hard-working Scots and more than £200 million of new direct UK Government investment into Scottish projects as he announced at Autumn Statement.”

Meanwhile, a DWP spokesperson said: “The Secretary of State is absolutely committed to delivering on his priorities for Scotland, including helping everyone who can work to reap the benefits of employment.

“We are bolstering investment in Scotland by £2.5 billion through our Levelling Up agenda, helping to improve their lives and forge a path to prosperity.

“We are also raising benefits by 6.7% and pensions by 8.5%, while our £2.5bn Back To Work plan will help hundreds of thousands into jobs.”