THE SNP has insisted that any funds earmarked for projects in Scotland should be handed to Holyrood rather than spent directly by Westminster. 

The party has accused Tory ministers of a "naked power grab" after the Treasury announced it had allocated an additional £800m to its Levelling Up Fund this afternoon, so it could be extended across all four nations of the UK. 

Initially the £4bn fund, which was announced by Rishi Sunak last year, was for England but it has now been announced that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will benefit from a share of the total pot, which has increased to £4.8bn. 

The Treasury said a prospectus, which will set out more details of how the funding will be divided up, will be published during the Budget on March 3 but added that the 'initial £4 billion fund will now be made £4.8 billion, available UK-wide.'

The funding will be allocated by Westminster in partnership directly with local authorities, and will not require the approval of Holyrood for it to be granted for use on capital projects such as transport and infrastructure, culture and heritage schemes.

It will be given to councils directly as opposed to being provided to the Scottish Government as part of its Barnett consequentials. 

READ MORE: UK Government to spend millions in Scotland without Holyrood say-so as part of 'levelling up' agenda

The SNP's Westminster Deputy leader Kirsten Oswald MP said:"The Tory government's move to bypass the devolved governments and dictate spending over devolved areas is yet another sign of its naked power grab plans.

"Rather than passing on funding through Barnett consequentials - which could have seen Scotland receiving its share totalling around £400m - the Tories are intent on dismantling devolution and taking control, with absolutely no clarity over how much will be spent in Scotland.

"It is utterly shameful that the Treasury is promoting its Levelling Up Fund not long after it cut Scotland's capital budget at the Spending Review by 5% - leaving Scotland to deal with the challenges posed by Covid and Brexit with one hand tied behind our back.

"Throughout the Brexit process, the Westminster Tory government has left the devolved governments and councils in the dark over crucial post-Brexit funding. In fact, the only areas where it has offered any clarity are the areas where it is quite clear they are intending on spending money in devolved areas.

"The funding for Scotland should be passed to the Scottish Government to administer on behalf of the people of Scotland."