SCOTLAND’S Economy Secretary Keith Brown is involved in a war of words with the UK Business Secretary Greg Clark and the Scotland Office over Brown’s claims that delays to the Edinburgh and South East City Region Deal could cost the Scottish economy millions of pounds of investment.

Brown said yesterday that he has received no response to recent letters to the UK Government requesting clarity around the deal. A recent meeting with his UK Government counterpart Greg Clark was also cancelled at short notice.

City deals in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness are already in place, guaranteeing a boost for those local economies. Six local authorities around Edinburgh have agreed to join the deal if approved by the UK Government.

Brown said: “The UK Government must stop dragging its feet over this very important issue. The Scottish Government is fully committed to agreeing an ambitious and transformative Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, in the same way we have done for Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. “I have written to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell twice in the past month with no reply. And last week Mr Clark cancelled a meeting where I intended to press him on the Edinburgh and South East deal.

“That is unacceptable. The UK Government cannot sideline the people of Edinburgh and the South East while it attempts to get its own house in order.

“Given the complete lack of engagement to date, we need urgent reassurances from the UK Government that they remain as committed to agreeing a jointly funded deal that secures the future prosperity and growth of Scotland’s capital city and region as we are, and are ready to enter into negotiations immediately.

“The repercussions of further delays will not only deprive businesses and communities in and around the capital of extra investment in innovation, culture and housing in the short term, but also raise concerns about the UK Government’s commitment to investing a transformative sum in the final deal.”

The Scotland Office said Brown was offered a meeting with a junior minister while UK Government sources said Clark had missed the meeting because he had been called to the House of Commons on July 3 to answer questions on the energy price cap which was in the Tory manifesto but was not in the Queen’s Speech.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Edinburgh City Deal is currently still under negotiation with the Scottish Government, councils and local partners, and will have the potential to create meaningful growth and innovation in Scotland’s capital.”