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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:47 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 3:47 pm, 26th June 2019

The hon. Gentleman will have to send me the figures he refers to. Across the north of England, unemployment is lower than it has been for a generation. Picking up on the comments of Anna Turley, £450 million has been committed to a devolution deal for the Tees valley and £120 million has been invested in the SSI site.

Frankly, if the Labour local authorities in the Sheffield city region could get their act together and agree what powers they should hand to the Mayor of South Yorkshire—I know he is already doing an excellent job, but I want him to be given those powers so he can continue to drive the hopes and dreams of the people of South Yorkshire—the Sheffield city region could receive nearly £1 billion as part of its devolution deal. It is shameful that Labour councils are blocking this Government’s giving nearly £1 billion to the Sheffield city region. The councils should hang their heads in shame. We are debating European structural funds, but all this is connected; we cannot consider Europe on its own.

Let me set out some truths. There was reference to a report that mentioned growth of up to 22% in money for less developed areas. That report does not take into account the points made by Jim Shannon, who is no longer in his place, about European countries that may join the European Union during the spending period; it does not take into account the cap that the European Union itself has said it would like to see on spending increases; and it is an estimate. That estimate would go into the European Union and be negotiated.