THE Conservatives’ plan to pay for conscription with funding originally brought in to replace EU money lost to Brexit has been branded a “national scandal”.

The SNP hit out after the Tories revealed that they planned for all 18-year-olds to complete a period of national service – and said they would use £1.5 billion from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to fund it.

When the “shared prosperity fund” was created in 2022, the UK Government said it “succeeds the old EU structural funds”.

The Tory government added: “This money will go straight to local places right across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

READ MORE: John Swinney: Labour’s stance on NHS shows they can't be trusted

However, the Conservatives have now instead pledged to use the money to pay for conscription, which would see young people given a choice between a full-time placement in the armed forces for 12 months or spending one weekend a month for a year “volunteering”.

The SNP said they will oppose the plan, branding it “completely out of touch with families and young people in Scotland”.

Amy Callaghan, the SNP MP and candidate for Mid Dunbartonshire, said: "The SNP will stand firm against Tory plans to slash Scotland's funding and impose mandatory national service on young people – showing why it's essential to vote SNP to get rid of the Tory government and put Scotland first.

"It's shameful Keir Starmer also claims mandatory national service is 'needed' and won't rule out imposing it on Scottish families – these plans from a bygone era are completely out of touch with families and young people in Scotland – and deeply damaging to Scotland's communities.

"Only the SNP can be trusted to fight Scotland's corner and protect Scotland's interests. It's bad enough the Tories and Labour Party are wedded to imposing Brexit but to slash Scotland's EU replacement funding by millions of pounds is a national scandal.

"At the General Election voting SNP is the best way to beat the Tories in Scotland and ensure we always put Scotland first."

Labour have said that national conscription “could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon”.

A party spokesperson added: “This is another desperate £2.5bn unfunded commitment from a Tory Party which already crashed the economy, sending mortgages rocketing, and now they’re spoiling for more.”

The Tories have said that while £1.5bn will come from the shared prosperity fund, the other £1bn would be paid for through a “crack down on tax avoidance and evasion”.

READ MORE: Is the General Election really terrible timing for Scottish voters?

The LibDems also condemned the Tories’ plan, with Richard Foord MP saying: “If the Conservatives were serious about defence, they would reverse their damaging cuts to our world class professional armed forces, instead of decimating them, with swingeing cuts to the number of our regular service personnel.

“Our armed forces were once the envy of the world. This Conservative government has cut troop numbers and is planning more cuts to the size of the Army.

“This would be far better spent reversing Conservative cuts to troop numbers.”

On Sunday, Home Secretary James Cleverly said there would be no criminal sanctions for young people if they defied the plans under a Conservative government.