Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

EU Structural Funds: Least Developed Regions — [Siobhain McDonagh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 26th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 2:30 pm, 26th June 2019

That intervention clearly comes with the great knowledge and experience that my hon. Friend brings as Chair of the Select Committee. I hope that the Minister will pay attention to his concerns in the closing remarks.

I do not necessarily have a lot of confidence in that. I wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government back in February, bringing the CPMR report to his attention and reminding him of the Government’s commitment that regions should not lose out as a result of Brexit. I called on him to commit to providing the equivalent funding to what we would have received had we remained members of the EU. The Minister responded on the Secretary of State’s behalf, but did not make that commitment. I asked the Minister that same question again in May during the Westminster Hall debate on the shared prosperity fund led by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley Central. The Minister again did not make that commitment.

Our experience is that where the Government have the opportunity, they shift funding from areas in need to other parts of the country. We have seen that markedly with local government. I therefore simply do not have the confidence that the Government will do the right thing by areas such as ours. In conclusion, I will ask the Minister that again, the simple and central question of the entire debate. We were told that there would be no losers as a result of leaving the European Union. Indeed, I pressed that with David Cameron at Prime Minister’s questions in the week after the referendum result. Had we remained a member, South Yorkshire would have received £605 million between 2021 and 2027; other regions would have received comparable amounts. Therefore, will the Government commit to providing, from whatever source, regional development funding at least equivalent to the money that we would have received from the European Union?