Levelling up funding is ‘extremely welcome’ for communities across Scotland

Monday 20 November 2023 

By Bill Heaney

The latest round of UK Government levelling up funding is extremely welcome news for communities across Scotland, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

Projects in round three of the fund have been confirmed, with Scotland receiving close to £122 million to support six projects from the UK Government.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Liz Smith, hailed the announcement as further evidence of the UK Government’s commitment to investing in communities right across Scotland.

West Dunbartonshire Council is earmarked to receive around £20 million from an earlier tranche of money funded ostensibly to improve Dumbarton Town Centre.

As usual, however, the local council does not have a clear picture in its mind what to do with the cash which faces being thinly spread around three projects – the town centre, Glencairn House and Alexandria’s Mitchell Way, which has already been partly demolished after a public outcry about the state of the place.

The UK Government has confirmed the following funding following bids from Scottish councils:

  1. Over £37 million for a joint North and South Ayrshire Council bid focused on commercial and low carbon infrastructure 
  2. Almost £23 million for a joint bid between Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders councils for a Three Rivers Active Tourism project 
  3. More than £18 million to regenerate Elgin town centre 
  4. Close to £15 million to boost Drumchapel town centre in Glasgow 
  5. Over £14.6m to redevelop the Shawfield area in South Lanarkshire 
  6. And over £13.7 million to improve transport in Dumfries and Galloway. 

The announcement comes soon after the UK Government announced £20 million each for seven towns across Scotland, including Dumbarton.

Liz Smith has called on the SNP-Green government to work constructively with local councils so that the projects can progress and deliver great benefits for those living and working in them.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance and local government secretary Liz Smith MSP, left, said: “This latest round of UK Government Levelling Up Funding has once again delivered for communities right across Scotland. 

“My congratulations go to all the Scottish local authorities involved in the successful bids. The funding which totals over £120 million is a real shot in the arm for these community-led projects and I’m delighted to see it awarded.

“It is further evidence of the UK Government’s commitment to invest in all parts of our United Kingdom and comes soon after they invested a total of £140 million directly into seven Scottish towns.

“People in these communities – and others who have received similar levelling up funding before them – are not interested where this money is coming from, they just want to see investment in their local area. I therefore look forward to future awards of levelling up funds.”

West Dunbartonshire Council refuses to discuss this – or any other subject for that matter – with The Democrat, and the route they suggest we take through the Freedom of Information Commission has been condemned by its own director as not fit for purpose.

A list of successful awards and explainer from the UK Government is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/levelling-up-fund-round-3-explanatory-and-methodology-note-on-the-decision-making-process#technical-annex-5-list-of-successful-projects

Top picture: Glencairn House on the Quay at Dumbarton, where the council plan to spend £7.2 million on a museum and library despite the fact that the public do not seem too keen on that.

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