THE UK Government has been accused of "empty sloganeering" after an investigation revealed just one per cent of staff hired by the Levelling Up Department are based in Scotland.

Figures show only 34 out of 3,436 staff are located north of the Border despite Downing Street claiming it was going to splash the cash across all four UK nations.

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said the figures prove “beyond any doubt” the Tory Government does not care about Scotland while the Greens insist the nation desperately needs the power to make its own decisions. 

Ministers said they would spend billions in a bid to ensure wealth spread beyond London, but the vast majority of Levelling Up staff – 65.8 per cent – are based in Whitehall.

It comes after Kate Forbes wrote to Neil O’Brien, the UK Government’s Levelling Up minister, in June to outline concerns around the lack of engagement with the Scottish Government.

The Finance Secretary said plans must “respect” Scottish ministers and devolution.

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Statistics show just 2.4% of staff – 82 people – are based across the devolved nations as a whole while a small minority are based in the most deprived regions of England with 3% in the North East, 5.6% in the North West and 3.5% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The National: Kirsten OswaldKirsten Oswald

Oswald said: "This latest revelation proves beyond any doubt that the Westminster system does not care about Scotland.

"And sadly, whoever replaces the current law-breaking Prime Minister, that will not change.

"The only way to protect our interests, and build a fairer and more prosperous country, is by choosing independence."

The figures were unearthed via a Freedom of Information request by the Mirror.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is currently going through Parliament and would aim to give local authorities the power to rejuvenate high streets and town centres.

Scotland is already earmarked to receive £212 million in funding over the next few years to “reverse the country’s geographical disparities”.

The Scottish Government should be able to “decide priorities”, according to Forbes.

Green MSP Ross Greer added: "After 12 years of Tory rule the UK lurches from one crisis to the next.

"Record inflation, unaffordable housing, energy prices through the roof. It’ll come as no surprise to anybody that what the Tories have been flogging as Levelling Up turned out to be nothing more than empty sloganeering.

"Even Tory leadership contenders are laughing when asked about it.

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"Scotland desperately needs the power to make its own decisions, so that we can invest in the sustainable infrastructure and financial help that people and the country needs."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We’re making thousands of jobs available outside of London, including through our economic campus in Darlington, a new government hub in Manchester, and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ own headquarters in Wolverhampton.”