UK Politics

Union jack to be displayed on publicly funded projects

Logo Image copyright Other

Plaques featuring the union jack and the line "funded by the UK government" are to be displayed on publicly funded projects in Britain.

Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, who will announce the move on Monday, said the plaques would "proudly adorn infrastructure investments from roads in Cornwall to broadband in Caithness".

The aim was to recognise UK taxpayers' contributions, he said.

The SNP branded the plan a "silly gimmick" which did not disguise cuts.

Projects that receive European Union funding have displayed information about it for many years.

'Spending cuts'

Mr Alexander, who represents Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency in the Scottish Highlands, said: "I've prioritised infrastructure in this government because only long-term investments will support UK businesses and get the public finances and economy on a firm footing.

"It's only right that we recognise the contribution of the UK taxpayer in supporting this economic growth, which is why I'm delighted to launch these union jack plaques."

Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Danny Alexander says the scheme allows taxpayers to see how their money is being spent

Under the plan, companies that win contracts to build new infrastructure will have to display the logo on the finished project.

But it has sparked speculation that the government is attempting to shore up support for the union and stem rising support for the SNP.

This was denied by a source close to Danny Alexander, who said: "Very often, large scale projects are delivered by private contractors so it's easy to lose sight of the fact that they are being paid for by taxpayers.

"This new badging scheme will allow UK taxpayers to see what is being delivered on their behalf."

He added: "Devolved administrations are responsible for significant amounts of infrastructure and are obviously free to badge any projects they fund as they see fit."

The SNP's deputy leader and treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: "Putting a sticker on projects is a silly gimmick by Danny Alexander and his Tory bosses, which can't cover over the fact that his government at Westminster has slashed infrastructure spending - destroying jobs and delaying economic recovery - including cutting Scotland's capital budget by a quarter.

"Despite this, the Scottish government is delivering over £11bn of investment over the three years to 2015-16."

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