Representatives of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), the Fraser of Allander Institute and the David Hume Institute have expressed concerns that new initiatives from the UK Government, including the Shared Prosperity Fund, Levelling Up Fund, and Community Renewal Fund will bypass the Scottish Government and the other devolved administrations.
Giving evidence to the Finance and Public Administration Committee, Ray Perman, Fellow of the RSE, in response to a question from Kenneth Gibson MSP elaborated on those concerns.
Mr Perman said:
“I made that comment in the context of the upcoming negotiations on the refreshing or renewal of the fiscal framework. We feel that a number of things could be done to improve Scotland’s position, and not necessarily at the expense of any other part of the UK.
“However, the relationship between not just Scotland but the devolved Governments in general and the UK Government has deteriorated, and it seems that a conscious political decision has been made to undermine the devolution settlement, particularly in Scotland but also in the other devolved nations. We list some of those things that could be done to improve Scotland’s position in our submission.
“Since then, we have seen another decision with the increase in national insurance contributions. That is not a good basis for negotiations that will depend on give and take and goodwill on both sides.
“It is incumbent on the UK Government to do something about the situation.”
These concerns were affirmed by David Eiser, who leads the Fraser of Allander Institute’s work on Fiscal Policy, and Susan Murray, Director of the David Hume Institute.
The Scottish Government and SNP MPs have repeatedly called upon the UK Government for transparency and the appropriate involvement of devolved administrations.