Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil says Scotland has been utterly conned by the UK Government as Levelling Up Funding is announced today (Thursday).

Mr MacNeil has been informed by the UK Government that local applications to the Levelling Up Fund – which was marketed as the replacement to EU funding lost through Brexit – have been unsuccessful.

The applications submitted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar were for ‘Eilean Siar Spinal Route & Connecting Infrastructure’ and the ‘Eilean Siar Cultural Heritage and Regeneration Project’. Both projects would have brought major benefits to Na h-Eileanan an Iar through transport upgrades and cultural projects.

Mr MacNeil said: “It is a huge blow for Na h-Eileanan an Iar to miss out on funding for these two projects. I know this has involved a huge amount of work from Comhairle staff.

 “Since Brexit, we have lost EU funding which contributed a lot to development over decades. EU structural funding was about £3.5m a year – Tory Brexit is short-changing the islands with less than a third of the money.

“The UK Government gave assurances that Brexit would not lead to a loss of money to rural areas.  However, now we see the magnitude of that lie with today’s announcement that the Comhairle’s bids to the Levelling Up Fund have been unsuccessful.”

Scotland’s share of the Levelling Up funding is just £177 million out of £2 billion.

Around £1.1 billion out of the £1.6 billion total levelling up funding in England has been given to areas with a Conservative MP.

Mr MacNeil he added: “People have been utterly conned by the UK Government and their Brexit. If ever there was a time for Independence, it is now.”