Nicola Sturgeon’s party has demanded answers from Westminster after Northern Ireland was set to receive £650 million in Brexit funding. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove visited Northern Ireland on Friday and pledged £355 million to help businesses in the country cope with additional bureaucracy caused by Brexit.
A further £300 million has been committed to the Peace Plus programme to support reconciliation projects across the island of Ireland from 2021-27.
Whitehall says the new measures are needed because the Northern Ireland protocol within the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement requires it to remain in alignment with EU rules on goods, effectively creating a regulatory border in the Irish Sea from January 1 after the transition period ends.
But Holyrood claims that Scotland was left out, stressing if the cash boost was processed through the Barnett formula, which determines how much government funding the devolved nations receive from Westminster, Scotland would have benefited to the tune of £1.8 billion.
According to Government population proportions from the Barnett Formula, Scotland’s population as a proportion of England’s was 9.71 percent and Northern Ireland’s as a proportion of England was 3.36 percent.
Holyrood have complained to Westminster
It comes as current Brexit talks are in a stalemate
This means that Scotland’s population proportion is 2.88 times higher than Northern Ireland’s.
Holyrood says that if Northern Ireland’s £650 million Brexit boost was put through the Barnett Formula, Scotland would expect a payment of £1,877,850.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, convenor of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee of the Scottish Parliament said that “any attempt to short change Scotland is not acceptable”.
The committee conducted a major enquiry into the implications of the EU referendum result for Scotland and warned that a no deal Brexit would leave Scotland worse off.
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The transition period ends on December 31st
Ms McAlpine told Express.co.uk: “Funding across the UK is supposed to be determined by the Barnett formula – the Tories can’t dish out large chunks of cash to Northern Ireland while snubbing Scotland.
“With less than five months to go until Scotland is dragged out of the EU with the UK, it’s clear that any deal is going to hammer Scotland’s economy.
“Now, by ripping off Scotland to the tune of £1.8 billion, the Tories are choosing to throw thousands of jobs and livelihoods on the scrap heap.
“The fact they are providing additional funds for Northern Ireland is a tacit acceptance that the costs of Brexit are going to be high – but Northern Ireland businesses aren’t the only ones going to be hit.
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“Scotland’s businesses will be affected too, not least those who send goods back and forth to Northern Ireland.
“We will also feel the pain and burden of Brexit, compounded by the attack on devolution at the core of the Tories’ internal market proposals.
“Boris Johnson’s government think they can treat Scotland however they like and get away with it.
“With independence, we will always be able to manage our own finances, grow our economy and protect Scottish jobs. It’s no wonder that prospect is looking more desirable every day.”
Michael Gove visited Northern Ireland on Friday
But Whitehall sources said that the statement was “misleading” saying that Northern Ireland is treated as equally as Scotland telling Express.co.uk that Westminster has helped Scotland “significantly” during the transition period and the COVID-19 pandemic.
They stressed that the Government was taking action to protect jobs and businesses and people in “every part of the UK.”
They insisted this could be achieved through the “UK internal market” which is “vital for the Scottish economy”.
A UK Government spokesperson added: “We have guaranteed an additional £6.5 billion this year to spend on public services and support businesses in Scotland following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
62 percent of Scots wanted to stay in the EU
“We have loaned more than £2.3 billion to 65,000 Scottish businesses and supported almost 900,000 jobs in Scotland through the pioneering furlough and self-employed schemes, and we are investing more than £1.5 billion in growth deals across the country.
“Rather than trying to sow division between the four nations of the UK, we should all welcome £650 million of new funding to help businesses, support reconciliation and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
“This is a targeted package, focussed on cross-community reconciliation and specific new trade arrangements in Northern Ireland and therefore it is not subject to the Barnett formula”
Mr Gove said the £650 million funding would ensure that “Northern Ireland people will continue to have totally unfettered access to the rest of the UK.”