Levelling Up: the Tories’ slush fund scandal

Needlessly devastating austerity, the hardest of Brexits, the PPE contracts scandal, blatant breaking of pandemic restrictions and mini-budget that crashed the UK economy; it was almost impossible to think the Conservatives could sink any lower.

But the latest revelations that the Tories have been abusing the levelling up package to divert public funding to their marginal constituencies simply beggars belief. It is the most recent of their desperate attempts to limit the electoral damage they are sure to suffer come the next general election.

There are currently 59 seats in Scotland, with 6 of them being held by Conservative MPs. Staggeringly, 3 of those Tory seats received funding while other seats across Scotland – notably in areas facing real social challenges – lost out.

It is absolutely right that Scotland receives its fair share of levelling up funding. But the Tories abuse of this fund represents a shameless misuse of public money to secure their own electoral fortunes.

The levelling up fund replaced the European Structural and Investment Fund Programme (ESIF). Shamefully, it is now being used by the Conservatives to feather their own nests.

Despite this boasting from Scottish Tory MPs, Scotland is still losing out from Brexit because the UK government’s levelling up fund pale in comparison to the investments that Scotland enjoyed by as part of the European Union.

Constituencies all across Scotland deserve this kind of vital investment, but the UK government’s contributions hardly compensate for the funds lost as a result of their chaotic Brexit that is projected to cut national income by 4%, wiping around £100 billion from the UK economy and leaving each of us on average earnings £1,300 a year worse off.

It is also indefensible that some areas will receive funding, not because of the needs of the local area but because of the electoral needs of a corrupt and failing UK Westminster government.

This kind of pork-barrel politics is an affront to voters across Scotland. And it is yet another reason why the Tories need to be removed from office.

The SNP is a close second to the Tories in every single seat they hold in Scotland. The most expedient way to defeat them is to vote SNP at the next general election.

The self-interest of desperate Westminster politicians cannot be allowed to undermine Scotland. The Tories need to be defeated – and it can’t happen soon enough.