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SCOTS MINISTER DEFENDS USE OF EU FUNDS

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Jack McConnell, the Scottish finance minister, will go on the offensive today with a strong denial that Labour is m...
Jack McConnell, the Scottish finance minister, will go on the offensive today with a strong denial that Labour is mishandling European structural funding, according to The Herald (p6).

After repeated calls by opposition MSPs, supported by Welsh and Scottish academics, that the Treasury is 'fiddling the books' by creaming off funding from Brussels destined for Scotland, Mr McConnell will tell the European committee that Scotland is seen in Europe as a model for the distribution of aid.

He will given an explanation of how so-called 'additionality' is handled by the Scottish executive. Under EU rules, all money for structural funding must be additional to planned spending. It must also be spent on additional projects so that the government cannot use it as a substitute for routine public spending.

Mr McConnell's spokeswoman said: 'Scotland is recognised in Brussels as a model of efficiency in the investment of European structural funding. That is why the minister has been invited to explain how we do it.'
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