A TORY MSP clashed with Nicola Sturgeon over a funding application for the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Tom Mason, who is also a councillor in the city’s ruling Tory-Labour administration, said the Scottish Government had refused to pay for any of the work on the building, despite spending millions on new V&A in Dundee. 

But Sturgeon claimed the council hadn't actually asked for any money.

That was later disputed by the council. 

During First Minister's Questions, Mason told MSPs: “When Aberdeen City Council applied for funding for the new art gallery which opens tonight... that application was turned down.”

He urged the First Minister to “look again at this decision” and to “make sure Aberdeen gets its fair share”.

The MSP echoed comments made by councillors at a reception in Aberdeen yesterday.

Tory Douglas Lumsden, a Conservative told guests: “The Scottish government has not contributed a single penny towards Aberdeen Art Gallery, while the V&A got more than £40 million. I think it is shameful. Funding has been requested but has been turned down.”

Marie Boulton, the independent who acts as the city’s culture spokeswoman, also suggested that Aberdeen had been spurned because it voted no in 2014: “The V&A was virtually built by the Scottish government for Dundee,” she said. “We haven’t seen that kind of cultural investment in Aberdeen.”

Replying to Mason, Sturgeon said: “Let me just set the record straight on this. During the planning or business case phase stages of this no application was made by Aberdeen City Council to the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland or Creative Scotland.

“Aberdeen City Council did discuss funding with Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 after project works had already begun but they chose not to pursue an application for funding.

“It's a bit rich to criticise the Scottish Government for not giving funding when the council in question never asked us for funding.”

A spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council said the local authority had made "various approaches to the Scottish Government in relation to funding for the Aberdeen Art Gallery project.

She added: "An application to Creative Scotland for a capital grant for the Aberdeen Art Gallery was rejected as early as 2013 and unsuccessful approaches were also made in relation to Historic Environment Scotland funding options.

"In December 2016 a letter was sent to the First Minister to highlight the opportunity for the Scottish Government to match £1.5m of funding provided by the UK Government.”

That 2016 appeal was rejected. The money given to the council by the UK government was for Aberdeen Memorial Hall which forms part of the gallery, and was taken from the Treasury's Libor coffers, funded by fines slapped on banks by UK regulators, and used, among other things, to support military charities and causes.

Ministers in Edinburgh said they had no equivalent fund.