The Scottish Government has said it is “extremely disappointing” the UK Government did not consult it about plans to invest levelling up funding in seven “overlooked” towns.
The towns in Scotland are among 55 around the UK which will each be given £20 million over a 10-year period to help regenerate high streets and tackle anti-social behaviour.
Greenock in Inverclyde, Irvine (North Ayrshire), Kilmarnock (East Ayrshire), Coatbridge (North Lanarkshire), Clydebank (West Dunbartonshire), Dumfries (Dumfries and Galloway) and Elgin (Moray) will receive funding which will be provided directly by the UK Government to the relevant local authority.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the new long-term vision for towns, backed by £1.1 billion of investment, was about putting “funding in the hands of local people” to improve their communities.
The Scottish Government said it was not consulted about how the funding could be prioritised and is not clear how the locations were identified.
A spokesperson said: “While the Scottish Government welcomes all extra funding for Scotland, it would be much better if provided to the Scottish Government via the Barnett Formula in the normal manner.
“It is extremely disappointing that we have not been consulted on how the investment could be prioritised to complement our ongoing work, and we are unclear on how the priority locations have been identified.
“We will nevertheless work with the UK Government and local authorities to ensure the impact of this investment can be properly realised.
“We have already been working with local authorities to revitalise our town centres. Scotland was the first part of the UK to make a commitment to a Town Centre Action Plan and to adopt a town centre first principle, backed by funding from our £325 million Place Based Investment Programme.”
UK Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said that for too long “too many of our great British towns have been overlooked and undervalued”.
He said: “We are putting this right through our Long-Term Plan For Towns backed by over £1bn of levelling up funding.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcomed the UK Government’s Long-Term Plan For Towns.
He said: “I look forward to seeing these towns – and the communities within them – use this investment to breathe new life into the places where they live, work and play.”
He added: “It is the latest in a long line of levelling-up initiatives reaching every corner of the country.
“It is creating jobs, transforming communities and delivering high-profile projects that people really care about.
“We are backing small-scale, grassroots initiatives; high-profile arts projects; cutting-edge research in our universities; and more.”
Councillor Gail Macgregor, Tory leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, welcomed news of the investment.
She said: “This funding will make a massive contribution to improving the long-term prospects for Dumfries – and secure its rich history and culture for generations to come.”