TENSIONS between Holyrood and Westminster were laid bare yesterday as both sides accused the other of failing to work together on major investment work.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes hit out at the UK Government for having “intentionally and specifically excluded” her team from its Union Connectivity Review, which focuses on transport links around the UK.

She said Welsh and Northern Irish administrations had also been left out of initial talks and said UK ministers had only sought their involvement when there was a “press release”.

But Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said “every invitation to the Scottish Government has been rebuffed”.

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The comments came before a session of the Scottish Affairs Committee on City Region and Growth Deals. Chairing, Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said: “We need to get to the heart of some of this. There seems to be massive tensions between the two governments.”

The session was held on the day that the UK Parliament returned from summer recess. Appearing via videolink, Forbes said the Scottish Government had been “excluded from anything to do with the Union Connectivity Review” under questioning from Moray’s Douglas Ross.

He asked if, while still Scottish transport minister, Michael Matheson had instructed Transport Scotland not to engage with the review, and if so, how this could mean the Scottish Government had been excluded.

Forbes said: “On the Union Connectivity Review, or Levelling-Up, or Shared Prosperity, or take your pick of a number of different alternative UK Government funding streams, the Scottish Government has not been party and has not been included in the process of establishing those funds or in terms of how projects will be analysed for those funds.”

She went on: “We have questions about how this will compliment additional funding. We will not not work with the UK Government to see a reduction in Scottish budget capital, which goes towards our hospitals, our roads and our schools.”

Later, Stewart said that “from the outset” the UK Government has tried to get its Scottish counterpart “to engage”. In an exchange with Ross, he agreed it was “perfectly right” for Westminster teams to deal directly with Scottish local authorities “if the Scottish Government don’t engage”.

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Stewart said: “Probably even a day doesn’t go past without me getting a request for ‘will you fund this?’”

The evidence came despite agreement from both sides that work on the City Deals had been respectful and constructive.

Forbes said that spirit “has been eroded and certainly has been over the last year”: “There’s a clarity to the city deals, there’s a framework to the city deals and there’s a mutual respect within the city deals which is why I think they have largely been a success to date.”