GREATER Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he understands the SNP’s claims that the Westminster Government is “destroying devolution”.

The Labour politician cited his own conflict with the UK Government during the Covid-19 pandemic, when he accused the Tories of “bullying” his region into accepting less than the requested £65 million business support package.

His comments came as First Minister Humza Yousaf hit out at the UK Government and claimed Scotland’s deposit return scheme could be scrapped after it failed to grant an Internal Market Act exemption that means glass can be included.

Former MP Burnham, who has been mayor since 2017, told the PA news agency during a visit to Scotland: “I’ve had my frustrations (with Westminster) and to be honest with you, I feel like I understand the sentiments in Scotland better because we all have our frustrations about the way Westminster treats the rest of the UK, the regions in England but also Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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“I think people may not realise in Scotland how much we feel the same in the north of England.

“We saw it in the pandemic, the way Greater Manchester was treated by the Westminster Government. They feel they can do things to us that they wouldn’t dare do in London and the South East.

“That’s what’s got to change. Personally, I think we’ve got to rewire Britain to make it better, and that includes more devolution to us and to Scotland.”

As part of his visit, Burnham visited manufacturer Alexander Dennis’s Larbert site to see the first 50 new “Bee Network”-branded buses purchased for Greater Manchester.

He said the Scottish Government has failed in its approach to granting stronger powers to local regions.

“I think in Scotland there needs to be more devolution down to the cities and regions, and that’s something the SNP hasn’t done and I think needs to be done,” he said.

He has backed former prime minister Gordon Brown’s call for mayors in all major Scottish cities and regions, where the elected official can hold regular meetings with ministers, adding the method “just makes sense”.

He added: “If I could pick up the phone to the elected mayors or provost of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee, we’d all start working more.”

It would result in greater collaboration between businesses in Scotland and England without the need for national governments, he added.

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said the actions of the UK Government have resulted in “major erosion of the devolution settlement”.

He added: “The Scottish Government recognises the crucial role of local government.

“That is why we are working to finalise the partnership agreement to enable local and national government to work together to achieve better outcomes for people and communities across Scotland.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “This year, we signed a landmark deeper devolution deal for Greater Manchester, marking a seismic shift in power, funding and responsibility away from London to the region and mayor.

“The deal puts more cash and power in the hands of local leaders to invest in the priorities that local communities truly care about, such as better bus and train services, skills and housing.

“We are already making significant progress to offer a devolution deal to any area that wants one by 2030, with over 50% of England covered by a devolution deal.”