Coastal communities missing out on government funding

Coastal communities

Scotland’s coastal communities are missing the chance to bid for millions in government funding, while projects in England and Wales benefit, the Tories have claimed.

The Scottish Government was given control over the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) from Westminster, following the devolution of Crown Estate revenues.

The CCF provides funding of over £50,000 to projects that promote regeneration and economic growth in coastal areas.

Past schemes to benefit from grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds include the Staffin Community Trust, Tarbert Harbour in Harris, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Harris Development Trust.

But while since 2017 there have been 70 grants worth a total of £40 million announced in England, the Tories said no awards have been announced in Scotland.

In Wales, applications have closed for the April 2019-March 2021 round of funding.

A freedom of information (FOI) request by the Scottish Conservatives has found there has been no correspondence between Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and local councils on the issue.

The Scottish Government said its hands have been tied by a lack of financial support from Westminster, pointing to a huge disparity in the funds made available to England compared to Scotland.

SNP and Tories blame each other

But Peter Chapman, North East Tory MSP, said: “SNP ministers are, at best, dragging their feet on this.

“There is a pot of money available to help regenerate our coastal communities. I can think of several areas along the Banffshire and Buchan coast that could benefit from this fund.

“However, no money is being allocated and our port towns and villages could be missing out on hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Mr Chapman added: “It is galling to think that coastal areas across England and Wales are benefiting to the tune of tens of millions while Scotland is missing out.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “With the devolution of the Crown Estate, Scottish Ministers have committed to 100% of its net revenue being made available from the marine assets out to 12 nautical miles to benefit coastal communities.

“This is a tremendous new opportunity for coastal communities in Scotland and this commitment has not been followed in other parts of the UK.

“Since 2017, Scottish ministers have allocated £3.4 million to Coastal Communities Fund projects in Scotland.

“However, the support made available by the Treasury for CCF projects in England is substantially more than the funding they provided to Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has been in regular discussion with Cosla and local authorities on proposed arrangements for future funding for coastal community benefit in Scotland and will make an announcement on this in the near future.”

This article was originally published as Coastal communities missing out on millions, as Tories and SNP blame each other at the Press and Journal on 24/06/2019.

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