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Agreement with the DUP: Funding for Scotland

Volume 627: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2017

9. Whether the additional funding provided to Northern Ireland announced in the Government's agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party will have consequences on funding for Scotland. (900494)

11. Whether the additional funding provided to Northern Ireland announced in the Government's agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party will have consequences on funding for Scotland. (900496)

14. Whether the additional funding provided to Northern Ireland announced in the Government’s agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party will have consequences on funding for Scotland. (900499)

Like previous Northern Ireland support packages and city deals in Scotland and Wales, this funding is a targeted intervention to address a specific set of unique challenges. As with those previous interventions, this exceptional funding will be made outside the normal, ongoing Barnett funding system. [Interruption.]

Order. There is excessive noise in the Chamber. To my certain knowledge, at least one retired teacher is in the precincts of the Palace observing our proceedings; she would want there to be a seemly atmosphere.

The running total given by the UK Government to city deals in Scotland since 2014 is already dwarfed by the sums given by local government and the Scottish Government. If £1.5 billion can be found overnight for the DUP deal to hold up this Tory Government, when will the Government find the money for the Tay cities deal, the Ayrshire growth deal and the Perth deal?

I am surprised at the hon. Lady’s tone because the Government have committed to delivering city deals across Scotland. There will imminently be some exciting news about Edinburgh. I would have thought she would welcome that, rather than simply politicking.

I would like to put on the record the best wishes of everyone on the Scottish National party Benches to the Scottish football team. I am wearing their colours; I hope they do not mind. I used to play alongside two of Scotland’s national players at university—their football careers have obviously been better than mine.

Livingston and West Lothian already have a low proportion of public sector jobs in Scotland; the local authority ranks 20 out of 32. The private sector is strong, but with the loss of HMRC jobs, the percentage of public sector jobs is going to fall. Will the right hon. Gentleman come to my constituency and face up to the reality of those job closures and at least receive a delegation, as is his duty as Secretary of State?

May I remind the Secretary of State of his own words? He said that he would not

“agree to anything that could be construed as back-door funding to Northern Ireland.”

We expect him, as Scotland’s representative in the Cabinet, to fight for fiscal fairness for Scotland and not to be short-changed by £3 billion. Did he make any representations to the Prime Minister before or after the deal was signed?

I take my responsibility to fight for Scotland’s fiscal priorities very seriously. That is why, two years ago when the hon. Gentleman was walking through the Lobby to deliver full fiscal freedom and a £9 billion black hole to Scotland, I voted to keep the Barnett formula.

Will my right hon. Friend update the House on the benefits to the north-east of Scotland brought about by the UK Government’s Aberdeen city region deal? Does he share my concern at the dither and delay of the SNP Government in improving the rail journey times between Aberdeen and the central belt, which may take until the 2020s? We need urgency from the Scottish Government.

I welcome my hon. Friend to his place. As a noted councillor in Aberdeen, he played a significant role in bringing together the Aberdeen city region deal, which has been such a boost to the north-east of Scotland. I am disappointed to hear what he says about the actions of the SNP Government, but, sadly, I am not surprised.

The Secretary of State could not be clearer:

“I’m not going to agree to anything that could be construed as back-door funding to Northern Ireland.”

This is not just back door; it is locked away in secure accommodation. Will he therefore detail in full what representations he made to the Prime Minister and what he did at any time to offer any objections on behalf of Scotland?

On 8 June, the people of Scotland delivered their verdict on which party in this House stands up for Scotland and Scotland’s financial arrangements. Scottish Conservatives—12 additional MPs. The Scottish National party—21 less.