The Tory government's power grab Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) has come under further criticism today, after the Institute for Government (IfG) warned that the Tory government's plans risk further damaging the union.

In its new report, the IfG called on the UK government to take an approach that "respects the devolution settlements and takes into account the devolved governments’ existing role in administering structural funds."

It warned that "Failure to do so risks further damaging trust between the UK and devolved governments, and it could "undermine" the union.

The SNP highlighted how Tory Westminster control of Scotland’s money before devolution led to cuts and not extra cash, and how they have already slashed spending in England for local councils.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, larkhall and Stonehouse:

"The UK government's handling of the SPF continues to be a threat to devolution, as this new IfG report highlights.

"As part of the EU, Scotland received funding and we were in a position to allocate it towards the key priorities of Scotland’s elected Government and our communities. That approach has been discarded by Westminster - with funding left to the whims of Boris Johnson's Tory Government, a Government we in Scotland did not vote for.

"The bottom line is that funding decisions under this replacement scheme for Scotland must be decided by the democratically-elected government of Scotland. It's clear beyond any doubt however that the only way to properly protect our interests and our Parliament is to become an independent country.

“Decisions about our future should be made by those who live and work here in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government is set to support 10,622 school children in South Lanarkshire with £678,000 to buy school clothes through the School Clothing Grant.

The School Clothing Grant was increased this month by the Scottish Government and provides families with primary school children with £120 per child and £150 per child in secondary school.

The support helps families pay for school clothes and shoes.

Applications are still open for eligible parents to apply for the start of the new school year.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:

“Already the SNP Scottish Government has helped a significant number of families in South Lanarkshire with buying school clothes and shoes, applications are still open for eligible families to apply for the start of the new school year.

“Meeting the costs of buying school clothes can be very challenging for thousands of families across Scotland and the SNP Scottish Government has introduced the School Clothing Grant to ensure every child in Scotland doesn’t miss out.

“Being in a uniform not only breaks stigma in school but gets young people in the right mindset for learning.

“This is another demonstration of our tale of two governments as the one in Edinburgh builds a social security system built on dignity, fairness and respect. Whereas the government in Westminster is preparing to cut Universal Credit, which could plunge 20,000 children in Scotland into poverty.”

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Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Constituency has welcomed the announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that South Lanarkshire will move from Level 2 to Level 0 on Monday 19th July, as will every other local authority in Scotland, if they are not already there.

Moving to level 0 means that 8 people from 4 households will be able to meet indoors and 10 people from 4 households in an indoor setting such as a pub or restaurant. 15 people from 15 households can meet outdoors; up to 2,000 people can attend stadia seated, 1,000 standing, with 400 people indoors. The limit on attendance at weddings and funerals has increased to 200.

International travellers arriving from amber list countries will not have to self-isolate if they have had two COVID vaccines, but the advice remains not to travel unless it is essential.

The First Minister also made it clear that face masks will continue to be mandatory in certain settings and are likely to be in the future.

Commenting, Christina said:

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement that Scotland will move to Level 0 from Monday July 19th, this is a welcome step in easing restrictions and returning to normality.

“This is our one last push towards normality, I am very grateful for the efforts of everyone in South Lanarkshire to follow the rules and keep everyone safe.

“To get us over the line we need to continue to follow the rules and, if you have not already, get vaccinated. There is a walk-in centre set up here for anyone who has not yet had a first dose or if you have waited 8 or more weeks for your second dose.

“Vaccination is our route out of the pandemic and we are in a race between the virus and the vaccine and we cannot allow the vaccine to get ahead.

“I would urge everyone to follow the rules laid out in the First Minister’s statement to ensure we can move to a greater sense of normality on the Scottish Government’s route map on August 9th.”