DOUBT hangs over the future of the Ayrshire Growth Deal after Chancellor Philip Hammond failed to mention it in his latest budget speech.

The Conservative Minister did continue to push forwards plans for a Borderlands Growth Deal in his budget but a lack of clarity remains over its Ayrshire counterpart.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown has slammed the UK Government for the failure to even mention Ayrshire last week.

Mr Brown said: “My overall feeling about the budget was one of disappointment, both from a local perspective and from a Scotland wide perspective.

“The big ask from a local point of view was the UK Government match the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Ayrshire Growth Deal. Never mind finance, the Ayrshire Growth Deal did not even get a mention. This is a real disappointment.

“Only recently I challenged the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, with my concern he was prioritising the Borderlands Deal. Well my concerns were correct as the Chancellor name checked it. Incredibly he announced a new package of city deals to be implemented for Northern Ireland which we can only assume is outside the £1bn already allocated as part of the DUP deal.

“Granting a VAT exemption on the Scottish Police and Fire Services was long overdue and welcome. Remember they have granted exemptions for the National Crime Agency, Police Service Northern Ireland, Highways England and Academy Schools England then it was obvious this could have been done before now. “Indeed the current Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Scotland previously voted against an SNP clause to a Finance Bill that would have provided the necessary exemption.

“Despite being hailed as a Ruth Davidson fuelled giveaway for Scotland, we have been badly overlooked. Even the headline figure of £2bn of Barnett Consequentials has been shown not to stack up, with £1.1bn to be repaid to the Treasury.

“The Chancellor spoke for an hour, delivered well over 8,000 words and only about 100 (1%) directly covered Scotland. That in itself is probably testament to the real power of the additional 12 Scottish Tory MPs.”

Conservative MSP Brian Whittle has also vowed to help push forward the Ayrshire Growth deal.

The South Scotland MSP added: “Getting a mention of the Ayrshire Growth Deal in the Budget would have been nice, but my focus remains on getting the deal delivered. I’ve had a number of conversations with representatives of the UK Government and they are all positive about the possibilities that this deal presents for Ayrshire and the whole of the South West of Scotland.

“I remain confident that it’s possible to deliver a good deal for Ayrshire. I’m continuing to work constructively with the UK and Scottish Governments to make this great ambition a reality.”