'The UK is at peak BANANA REPUBLIC' – SNP MP attacks Theresa May's new Stronger Towns Fund

Posted on Mar 6 2019 - 4:26pm by admin

Mr MacNeil said the failure to announce how much, if any, of the £1.6 billion pot of cash will go to the devolved regions showed they were “making it up as you go along”. He went on to mock the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Secretary James Brokenshire’s statement. Mr Brokenshire’s words came after his colleague Health Secretary Matt Hancock had to defend a payment of £33 million to Eurotunnel over post-Brexit cross-Channel contracts.

Mr MacNeil said: “With Seaborne containers, with the Channel Tunnel fiasco, with no idea for Scotland, no idea for Wales and maybe Northern Ireland has had its cash, we don’t know.

“This is UK at peak banana republic, it’s make it up as you go along at the despatch box.”

Calling for money to help the towns in his constituency off the west coast of Scotland, Mr MacNeil asked: “Will we see our fair share or is this peak zenith banana republic from that despatch box?”

In response, Mr Brokenshire said: “I’m sorry that the Honourable Gentleman seemingly does not have that sense of ambition that we have for Scotland going through Brexit and beyond.”

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The initiative has come under fire from other MPs, branded a “desperate Brexit bribe”.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and the Independent Group’s Anna Soubry attacked the scheme which has been put in place to boost run-down towns.

Mr McDonnell said: “This towns fund smacks of desperation from a Government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation.

“The reason our towns are struggling is because of a decade of cuts, including to council funding and a failure to invest in businesses and our communities.”

Ms Soubry said: “Voters will not be fooled – especially those in areas which voted Leave and are now demanding a people’s vote because they know, whichever way you do it, Brexit will harm their futures.”

The Stronger Towns Fund is “targeted at places that have not shared in the proceeds of growth in the same way as more prosperous parts of the country”, ministers have said.

The money, which has been allocated using a needs-based formula, will be aimed at creating new jobs, helping train local people and boosting economic activity.

The North West will receive £281million, the West Midlands £212 million, Yorkshire and the Humber £197 million, the East Midlands £110 million, the North East £105 million, the South East £37 million, the South West £35 million, and the East of England £25 million.

A further £600million will be available through a bidding process to communities in any part of the country.

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