THE LEADER of Glasgow City Council has welcomed the UK Government’s plan to invest millions in Scotland but urged ministers to work ‘in partnership’ with the Scottish Government to do so.

Susan Aitken said that additional funding for projects in the city was a positive thing but was concerned about duplication if Westminster and Holyrood did not work together on plans for investment.

The SNP council leader made the remarks following the unveiling of the UK Government’s plans to extend its Levelling Up Fund to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

The Treasury announced on Wednesday that the fund, initially totalling £4bn, was to be increased by £800m and would be available for project bids from all four nations of the UK.

Local authorities and universities are among the organisations thought to be eligible to bid for funding for capital projects in areas such as infrastructure, transport, culture and heritage.

The UK Government said the plans,which were first announced as part of the controversial Internal Market Bill, would help to provide support for areas which have received a lower amount of funding in recent years.

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However SNP MPs say it is a blatant attempt to snatch power from devolved governments, as investment decisions can be made without the approval of Holyrood ministers.

Ms Aitken, who leads Glasgow City Council, said: “I would obviously welcome more investment into Glasgow but, with the Scottish Government already putting considerable amounts into the same areas the UK Government now says it wants to support, it is very hard to see why Ministers would bypass our devolved Parliament rather than work together.”

She added: “Governments at a local, Scottish and UK level actually have a good track record of working in partnership to make sure investment is made where it is needed most - effectively and without wasteful duplication.

“The Glasgow City Region Deal is an obvious example of a partnership that has delivered real improvements and economic impact. Why wouldn’t the UK Government want to build on success?”

Glasgow Times: SUSAN AITKEN

Susan Aitken, Glasgow City Council Leader (SNP)

Ms Aitken has previously spoken out about how she believes Glasgow City Council has not received its fair share of funding from the Scottish Government, and last year called for richer councils to receive less.

She also said she wanted Glasgow to team up with other councils which have high level of deprivation such Dundee, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire, to fight for a better share of the budget.

Yesterday, Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said the new fund was an example of “true devolution” and said: " Scotland has two governments and this is the United Kingdom Government spending money, new money, directly with local authorities."

Further details of how the £4.8bn will be divided up, and who will be eligible to apply, are to be released to coincide with the Budget on March 3.

However SNP MPs have already raised concerns about the plans, saying there are already partnerships in place and systems of working which would be overridden by Westminster if they were to invest without the involvement of Holyrood.

At the Scottish Affairs Committee yesterday, junior Scotland office minister Iain Stewart MP was asked for further details of the fund and what scrutiny there would be of its allocation.

SNP MP Dierdre Brock said she was concerned about "pork-barrelling" of the money, comparing it to a former scheme - the Towns Fund - which saw £3.6bn given to 101 English towns, however no reason for selecting certain towns over others was given by ministers.

She said: "What has the government learned from that episode, and how will the Scotland Office be ensuring that that money is paid out in a really fair and very transparent manner?

Mr Stewart replied: “I don't firstly accept the premise of the question that the towns fund is somehow politically biased.

“But there will be the proper accountability mechanisms for this, as indeed all government spending.

“There will be perfectly normal and adequate accountability and scrutiny of this.”