Readers' letters: Tories break Brexit funding pledge

It is striking but not wholly unexpected that the Tories have broken yet another manifesto pledge by failing to match billions of pounds worth of EU development funding for Scotland after Brexit.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th April 2022, 7:00 am

The government pledged in its 2019 election manifesto that a new Shared Prosperity Fund would “at a minimum” match the EU regional funds that were returned to the UK from its EU membership contributions, and “reaffirmed” that commitment in last October’s Budget.

These “EU structural funds” were designed to support economic development and reduce regional inequalities, particularly through investment in small businesses, skills and innovation, the green economy and other infrastructure projects.

However, the recent announcement of this Fund will see only £32 million allocated to Scotland for 2022-23, a staggering £151 million short of the £183 million estimated to be an appropriate replacement for EU Structural Funds.

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It is clear that despite UK Government assurances, the funding promised will not be delivered and this will hit key projects and communities.

Like so many aspects of Brexit, this broken promise is yet another addition to a growing list of broken promises.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Labour fails to speak up for Scotland

Ian Murray (News, 14 April) is wrong when he claims that the SNP has stood idly by while the Tories trash the country.

Labour is impotent at Westminster when compared to our Scottish Government that is spending hundreds of millions every year mitigating the Tories’ draconian welfare policies while ensuring much lower council tax bills than in England or Wales for most households.

A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown that the SNP policies on tax and benefits have created a fairer, more progressive system than is in place in the rest of the UK.

Labour fails to speak up when the Tories short change Scotland on post Brexit funding or grabbing powers away from our Scottish Parliament.

Brexit has added to the cost-of-living crisis and damaged our exporters and hospitality sector but Sir Keir Starmer still says there is no case to re-join the EU.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

Council play role in helping the blind

With the elections for Scotland’s local authorities on May 5, it is important to emphasise the vital role councils play in helping blind and partially sighted people to live as independently and inclusively as possible.

People with a visual impairment are more likely to depend on services from their local council, for information that’s readily available in alternative formats, public transport that’s accessible, streets and thoroughfares that allow people to walk safely and without obstacles, education that allows every child to reach their full potential, and employment that’s informed by a better understanding of what those with sight loss can do.

Around 178,000 people are currently living with a significant degree of sight loss in Scotland, of whom over 4000 are children and young people. Our ageing population and the increase in sight-threatening conditions such as diabetes means this number will, inevitably, grow.

Let’s make sure we re-emerge as a society in which no one is left at the margins. Our local authorities are absolutely key to this.

James Adams, Director, RNIB Scotland.

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