A Renfrewshire MP has hit out at the UK Government’s decision to reject a multi-million investment in Renfrew town centre.

Renfrewshire Council had bid via the UK Levelling Up fund for support to create a Heath and Learning Hub in the town, refurbishing both the former police station and century old Victory Baths, and providing a top quality community facility.

But supporters when disappointed when the results of the bidding process were revealed by the UK Government, with the bid, which had widespread support across the community, was knocked back by Ministers.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Renfrew, said he was “bitterly disappointed” at the outcome and highlighted the multi-million boost for the Prime Minister’s own constituency.

£19 million will be funnelled to his seat, which is among the wealthiest in Britain.

The Levelling-Up fund was intended to partially replace EU funding following the UK’s withdrawal from Europe despite Scotland’s overwhelming vote to Remain.

But critics, including the Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, have hit out at the secrecy and the outcome of the bidding process.

Gavin said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that Renfrew’s bid for levelling-up funding to create a health and learning hub in the town has been rejected by the UK Government. This would have refurbished both the former police station and the Victory Baths and provided a top class facility for the town and the wider community.

“Levelling up funding was originally sold as the replacement for EU funding as we got dragged out of Europe against our will. But a quick look at the list of successful applications shows it’s mainly just a slush fund for Tory seats, with a few token exceptions.

“Rishi Sunak’s constituency received £19 million despite being among the wealthiest in Britain. That isn’t levelling up – that’s grand theft.

“We’ve also seen £45 million for Dover – another Tory seat – to build more roads to handle the chaos caused by Brexit in the first place. That’s hardly levelling up; more like repairing the damage they’ve already caused.

“I’m happy for the communities who will benefit. But over decades EU funding provided huge benefits to Renfrewshire and the whole of Scotland. We saw huge infrastructure projects funded by the EU to boost our economy and society.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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