Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has written to Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, to ask why the Western Isles will be missing out on at least £15 million it is due as a result of spending increases in Northern Ireland which are not being replicated in Scotland.
Yesterday, the Conservatives and DUP signed a “confidence and supply” deal which included an extra £1 billion for spending in Northern Ireland. If the £1bn of additional funding for Northern Ireland was subject to the Barnett formula, Scotland would be due to receive £2.9bn of extra funds.
David Mundell had only recently vowed to block any deal that did not ensure the appropriate funding came to Scotland, saying “I’m not going to agree to anything that could be construed as back door funding to Northern Ireland.”
Alasdair Allan MSP commented: "
Organisations across the Western Isles have had to make tough choices in recent years as a direct consequence of the UK Government’s decision to cut Scotland’s budget.
“Yesterday’s deal proves what the SNP has been saying all along – that the Tory austerity programme has being pursued for ideological reasons; not out of necessity. If the UK Government has managed to find £1 billion for Northern Ireland, to get themselves out of a political hole, then a fair increase must also be provided to Scotland. Public services in the Western Isles are due at least £15 million, based on our local population share of the cash.
“If the UK Government continue to dig their heels in and ignore the Barnett formula then this raises some very difficult questions for Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who said a day before this deal was announced that he "won't support funding which is deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules.””