Billions could be pulled from local investment after Brexit, warn councillors
Billions of pounds worth of investment could be withheld from local areas following the decision to quit the European Union, councillors in England have warned.
The Local Government Association demanded “urgent guarantees” from the Government that local areas would receive “every penny” of EU investment they were allocated before the vote.
Some £5.3bn of funding up to 2020 has apparently been put aside for thousands of regeneration projects aimed at job creation or infrastructure boosting, with heaps of the cash yet to be released.
Cornwall and the North-east has seen only 20% of their allocation so far, while Birmingham has received 25%. It is up to the government which project proposals the rest of the cash will go to.
Councillors fear that Whitehall could hold onto the funds not yet released to local areas in the climate of uncertainty caused by Brexit, landing a “severe blow” to communities.
Chairman of the LGA Lord Porter said local economies had become “increasingly reliant” on EU funds for employment and apprenticeship schemes as well as tourism-boosting initiatives.
“Losing any of this vital money over the next few years would be a real blow for local economic growth and communities,” he said.
“It is important for the Government to end the current uncertainty and guarantee that local areas will receive all of the EU funding they have been allocated by 2020, regardless of whether decisions over which projects it should be spent on have been made or not.
“This is essential to avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and local economies across England being stifled.”