MICHAEL Gove has insisted that the UK government spending additional funds on Scottish projects in decentralized areas is “increasing” rather than threatening the country’s constitution.
The UK Government’s Upgrading Secretary stressed his administration wanted to ‘strengthen’ decentralization and said he would be happy SNP ministers ‘take credit for the good things happening in Scotland’, even though the funding comes from the UK. Treasury.
Speaking to the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association, Mr Gove, who is also UK Government Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, confirmed that the Westminster Upgrade Fund had received offers from local councils across Scotland .
READ MORE: Michael Gove and Why English ‘Leveling Up’ Matters for Scotland, by Andrew Dunlop
Boris Johnson’s administration has come under fire for planning to spend money on decentralized policy areas, such as transport infrastructure as part of the post-Brexit Shared Prosperity Fund and the Leveling Fund.
The Scottish government has warned it is “beyond disappointment” with the position taken by British ministers.
But Mr Gove said “the leveling up is about making sure we are making the playing field more level across the UK”.
He added that the Scottish public “needs to see both governments serve them appropriately”.
Mr Gove said Tory ministers at Westminster “want to work with the Scottish government” to ensure that “it” uses the powers at its disposal more vigorously and effectively “.
He added: ‘There are a number of areas where the Scottish government, whether led by Nicola or led by someone else, has the means to make a difference.
READ MORE: Upgrade: MPs warn Boris Johnson’s flagship could be inconsistent flop
“Devolution can work – the Scottish government and the Scottish Parliament can better serve the people of Scotland. These are their priorities, but we want to help them make them happen.
Mr Gove claimed that alongside the UK government he could spend more money north of the border “beyond” the funding regulations agreed by the Scottish government.
He said: “It sounds like a really good thing to me.
“It does not bypass the devolution regulation, it increases it. ”
A UK government intervention plan is to modernize the A75 – a key road in South West Scotland.
Mr Gove was asked if he would be happy to ignore the decentralization of transport policy and move forward anyway.
Mr Gove said: “Do we really think a citizen of Stranraer, Whithorne or Lockerbie is going to say ‘oh well done, thank you very much – Scotland is stronger now that we have kept this road in its current conditions? No.
“It’s practical cooperation. I think it would be strange if the SNP put ideology ahead of cooperation.
Mr Gove was also asked about the Scottish Government’s kudos for the vaccine rollout and leave program – both UK government policies with money sent to Holyrood via the Barnett formula.
He said “it doesn’t matter” if the SNP takes credit for the UK government’s upgrade program.
Mr Gove added: ‘I am more than happy that Scottish government ministers take credit for the good things that are happening in Scotland. I just want good things to happen in Scotland.
“If Kate Forbes gets credit for investing in Scotland, so much the better. It’s good for me. My job is to make sure the UK government is working for everyone.