SNP Claims That EU Regional Funding Is Not Being Replaced Are Shown As False

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readApr 26, 2022

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP caught inventing figures to attack Brexit and the Union

SNP Gov’t uses wrong inflation and exchange rates to calculate non-existing cuts

As part of its attempt to rubbish Brexit just before the local council elections on 5 May, the SNP has been spreading a narrative that huge cuts are being made to public funding of projects supported in the past by EU grants.

In fact, the UK Government is matching previous funding and giving a generous uplift on top.

What sleight of hand has the SNP used?

What is happening with EU regional funds?

  • As the legacy of EU regional funding winds down over the next three years, the UK Government is replacing it with the new ‘UK Shared Prosperity Fund’ (UKSPF)
  • The allocation of UKSPF ramps up to match the EU funds being phased out, totalling £212m of new funding for Scotland between now and 2024/25
  • Scotland’s average annual funding under EU structural funds was £124m. UKSPF will match this amount in real terms when fully ramped-up in 2024/25

What is the SNP claiming?

  • The Scottish Government claims it should receive £183.2 million to match EU funding levels — not the average of £124m calculated by the UK gov.

What is the SNP doing to fool people?

Firstly, It is impossible to speculate how much the UK might have received in structural funds had we remained in the EU. Assumptions on what the UK could have received under the 2021–27 EU budget programme are hypothetical — the EU has not modelled allocations for the UK but instead developed its programme based on having 27 Member States.

Secondly, the SNP uses three false assumptions to construct its £183.2m figure:

1. The Scottish Government uses an inaccurate measure for exchange rate calculation.

  • To calculate its figure, the UK Government has used the OECD’s annual exchange rate from 2014–to 2020 of GBP: EUR 1:1.15 on average, which is based on actual data.
  • The Scottish Government has used an inaccurate simplifying assumption of GBP: EUR £1.00: €1.10.

2. It is unclear what measure of inflation the Scottish Government has used to calculate its figure, but it uses 2018 as its price year.

  • HMG uses gold-standard HM Treasury GDP deflators (which are Green Book compliant and widely used), and 2024–25 as the price year for the annual average

3. The Scottish Government mistakenly includes ‘LEADER’ (agricultural) funding in its inflated figure of £183.2m

  • Yet the LEADER fund is not being replaced by UKSPF
  • Instead the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) — which includes ‘LEADER’ and ‘Growth’ funds — is replaced in full as part of the domestic farm settlement which replaces the EU Common Agricultural Policy

And there’s more Brexit bonus from the Union

On top of the UKSPF — which matches past EU funding (paid for by our own taxes) — the UK Government has ALSO created new biddable funds for Scotland.

The Levelling Up Fund has provided £171m of funding to projects across Scotland, and the Community Ownership Fund will target a minimum of £12.3m in funding in Scotland of the total fund over the 4 years.

None of these funds would have been paid out by the EU — they are the creation of the UK following Brexit.

Michael Gove & Alister Jack explain the new post-Brexit funding arrangement

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, said:

“We have taken back control of our money from the EU and we are empowering those who know their communities in Scotland best to deliver on their priorities.

“The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to unleash the creativity and talent of Scottish communities that have for too long been overlooked and undervalued.

“By targeting this funding at areas of the country that need it the most, we will help spread opportunity and level up in every part of the United Kingdom, including Scotland.”

- The Rt Michael Gove MP

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said:

“This £212 million investment is part of a comprehensive package of UK Government support to level up Scottish communities, and comes on top of a record block grant for Scotland.

“We will continue to work closely with local partners to ensure this money will go where it is most needed so people can be proud of where they live and work through delivery of new infrastructure, support for local business and by developing skills.”

- The Rt Hon Alister Jack MP

The UK’s new UKSPF programme puts the power in the hands of local communities

UKSPF goes directly to communities across Scotland (and will do the same in the rest of the UK).

Based on current publicly available information, large sums of previous EU allocations to Scotland were spent by the Scottish Government or its agencies — UKSPF will instead go direct and in full to Scottish communities.

Local places will decide how UKSPF is spent. EU Structural Funds were shaped by remote bureaucrats in Brussels, whereas UKSPF investment plans will be drawn up by elected councillors, in partnership with local communities.

Based on need, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each all receive considerably more per head under UKSPF than England does. In Scotland’s average UKSPF funding per head is over a third higher than the English average and more than three times higher than the South East of England.

All the while the Barnet formula continues to benefit Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Scottish Government is better resourced today than ever before.

The last Spending Review increased the block grant by £4.6 billion, taking it to around £41 billion a year for the next 3 years — the largest, in real terms, since devolution more than 20 years ago. The Scottish Government receives £126 of Barnett-based funding for every £100 per person of equivalent UK Government spending in England.

In addition, regions across Scotland are seeing £1.5bn of UK Government investment through City and Growth Deals.

The SNP cannot hide the truth — Brexit is benefitting Scotland

As part of its election campaign for this May’s Scottish local elections, the SNP has tried to rally its support by claiming the EU regional funding that once came to Scotland is not being fully replaced but is being cut back.

The SNP calculated a figure using what it says should be spent in Scotland even though the EU made no plans for identifying spending in the UK before we left. It used the wrong inflation rate, and wrong exchange rate and it included an element of CAP funding that has nothing to do with regional development.

It then worked out what imaginary amount would have been spent by the EU on the 32 Scottish local authorities and rustled up local media coverage on the basis of fantasy figures.

The truth is totally different

I am is pleased to be able to deconstruct and correct the SNP myth-making. The reality is that not only will the average of past EU funding in Scotland be matched by the UK government, the additional new funds set up after Brexit for levelling up and the additional spending that comes to the devolved administrations have ensured the Scottish Government has never had it so good.

Maybe next time when the Right Honourable Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, gets off his fat backside and calls the PM a liar, perhaps at least one Right Honourable Member from the Conservative Party can stand up and show him that the whole of the SNP are outright liars deceiving every Scottish person living in Scotland.

Sources: UK Government Scotland Office | Scottish Government | Orkney News

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.