Scottish government sulks over Osborne's 18 million pound Glasgow science investment

The Scottish government looks surly ahead of George Osborne's announcement, but both are playing politics before the referendum.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 21 Aug 2014

Glasweigians are in a good mood at the moment. The sun is shining, the Commonwealth Games kicks off tomorrow and millions of pounds are being showered on the city ahead of the fast-approaching Scottish independence referendum.

George Osborne is due to announce £18m funding for life sciences and a business incubator in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference later today. It doesn’t sound much in the grand scheme of things, but the Chancellor will claim it could create as many as 30,000 jobs when added to the £1.1bn ‘City Deal’ unveiled earlier this month, according to the BBC.

The UK government announced £500m investment in the city and the wider Clyde area, while local councils put in £130m. The Scottish powers-that-be then had to step up to the plate themselves and duly put another £500m into the pot. The Scots will want a referendum every five years at this rate.

Scotland’s finance minister John Swinney had to tread the fine line between sounding pleased for Glasgow, while not giving credit to the UK government, but ended up sounding somewhat surly. ‘This funding builds… on the £1bn of Scottish government investment in the new Southern General Hospital without which these new life sciences investments would not be possible,’ he said in a statement today.

‘The Scottish government has committed to match in full the funding announced last month for Glasgow's City deal, a proposal which we understand consists of just £15m a year for the first five years, with future years' funding contingent on a review at the end of the first five-year period.’

The rash of funding announcements is, of course, all politics being played in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum in September. How it will sway Scottish voters remains to be seen: the ‘No’ campaign is still in the lead, but a recent poll showed its lead had narrowed to 41% compared to 32% planning to vote ‘Yes’. More worryingly for the Union, 27% are still undecided.

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