A £1.6 billion package promised by Theresa May for run-down towns has been dismissed by opposition MPs as a "pathetic" attempt to win support for her Brexit deal.

READ MORE: CBI report: No-deal Brexit would cost Scotland £14bn a year

The SNP accused the Conservatives of handing out a ‘grubby Brexit bung’ with more cash for Northern Ireland, while the money was dubbed as "desperate bribe" by shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said the money would be "transformative" and was not conditional on support for the Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement.

And Mrs May's official spokesman confirmed the money was not conditional on MPs backing the Brexit deal, telling reporters it was "absolutely not" a bribe in return for votes.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman MP accused the Prime Minister of handing a Brexit “bung” to MPs and areas of the country that voted to leave the EU.

HeraldScotland: Kirsty Blackman has hit out at the "Brexit bung" Kirsty Blackman has hit out at the "Brexit bung"

She said: “Theresa May has serious questions to answer over this cynical £1.6bn Brexit bung, which appears to be a cynical last-minute attempt to buy support for her botched deal.

"This is pork barrel politics at its worst. Labour MPs must not be bought off by giving support to a damaging Tory Brexit deal, which we know would be devastating for jobs, living standards and the economy."

Referring to £140m extra UK Government funding in the next budget to Northern Ireland, she added: 

"This extra cash for Northern Ireland comes just before Theresa May brings her bad Brexit deal back to Parliament - where every MP's vote will count. And it is crystal clear that the Tories are delivering a grubby Brexit bung to buy off DUP votes whilst Scotland's voice in the Brexit process is ignored."

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Like previous Northern Ireland support packages, or funding for city and growth deals in Scotland, the £140 million funding addresses specific challenges.

“As there has been no increase in spending on devolved matters in England, this additional funding will not result in Barnett consequentials for Scotland. To suggest it should is to fail to understand how the Barnett formula works.”

READ MORE: Civic Scotland: Brexit must be delayed and 'chaotic' no deal avoided

Launching the new £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund package, Mrs May said: "For too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread.

"Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change - that must be a change for the better, with more opportunity and greater control.

"These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them."

Mr McDonnell branded the initiative a "desperate bribe".

READ MORE: 10 voices tell Herald on Sunday why we should delay Brexit 

He said: "This Towns Fund smacks of desperation from a Government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation."

But Mr Brokenshire told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the money was not linked to getting the deal through.

"This funding is there regardless of the outcome, but obviously we want to see a deal happening, we believe that is what is in the best interests of our country.
"But there is no constitutionality in that sense."

READ MORE: 10 voices tell Herald on Sunday why we should delay Brexit 

Of the £1 billion being allocated using a needs-based formula, the North West gets £281 million, the West Midlands £212 million, Yorkshire and the Humber £197 million, the East Midlands £110 million, the North East £105 million, the South East £37 million, the South West £35 million, and the East of England £25 million.

Another £600 million will be available through a bidding process to communities in any part of the country.