£727m black hole for SW if UK quits the EU, UNISON South West warns
Leaving the EU risks £726.9 million of European funding in the South West that was recently allocated to public services, local businesses and non-profit organisations, research by UNISON has shown.
Money from the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) – totalling £12.8 billion across the UK – faces an uncertain future if Britain pulls out of Europe following the referendum on June 23.
The funding, planned to run from 2014-2020, is already a year late following errors by the Coalition Government. With the first allocations only confirmed in summer 2015 and £41.6 million still to be claimed, the South West could miss out on future support and even see current subsidies withdrawn if the country votes to cut ties with Europe in a fortnight’s time.
While the Remain and Leave campaigns have argued over the costs and benefits of trade with the EU, public investment from Europe has been left out of the picture.
UNISON is concerned that the Brexiteers have no plans for replacing this funding, leaving people in the region worse off.
The last funding round (2007-2013) saw investment across the South West, with Cornwall receiving particular attention.
Nearly £500 million was invested in transport infrastructure, research programmes, and business support. Further funding also went to adult learning and back-to-work schemes.
UNISON South West Regional Secretary Joanne Kaye said:
“Public services in the South West need more investment that just isn’t coming from the Government. Well-targeted European money has brought jobs to the region and driven research, conservation and development.
“Brexiteers need to set the record straight on where they’d find the money to replace European regional investment programmes. So far the Leave camp’s method has been to promise pots of money left, right and centre, without specifying where new funding would come from.
“With a serious risk of recession if Britain leaves the EU, money will be tight. People in the South West deserve a full explanation of what Brexit would mean for jobs, services, and local businesses”.
Notes to editor: please see sources below.
Contact Fred Jerrome for further comment – email@example.com – 07816 538199
ERDF case study booklets
ESF and ERDF allocations 2014-2020
Open and closed South West ESIF funds
EAFRD allocations to LEPs
SW regional and relevant transnational programmes