Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today responded to confirmation that Scottish communities will receive £212m levelling up funding between 2022 and 2026 as part of the UK government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces former EU funding programmes. The government has committed to matching previous EU funding for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Cornwall, though parts of England are expected to see reduced funding. Mr Carmichael said that he would work with incoming councils in Orkney and Shetland to ensure that the isles have the best possible opportunity to access the funding.
Mr Carmichael said:
“It is some comfort – albeit no less than we ought to expect – that the government has committed to match past EU funding in the new settlement for Scotland. The devil will be in the detail and there are already concerns that some sleight of hand may be going on. It should be noted that other parts of the UK are already seeing significant drops in their funding under the new scheme, so we cannot afford to be complacent.
“If managed correctly then there is a genuine opportunity for communities to have more of a say in how funds are dispersed and to benefit more directly from projects. For that to happen we need close cooperation and respect between all levels of government.
“There are significant investments in long-term infrastructure and economic development we can advocate for in Orkney and Shetland. I will be working closely with the incoming council groups to ensure that the isles get a fair look in when funding is allocated.”