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Cornwall Council leader calls on government to tackle regional inequality at research launch in Brussels
New research launched in Brussels today (October 15) reaffirms the need to put in place an ambitious UK regional policy and a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to replace the EU funds UK regions would lose post-Brexit.
The research, by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), confirms that UK regions would have received a minimum of €13 billion under a future EU programme. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly estimates its total investment need to be £100 million a year.
Cornwall Council leader Julian German will host the launch of the CPMR’s revised research, which will be an opportunity for UK regions and stakeholders to discuss the crucial issue of future funding for UK regions.
The CPMR research reveals how regional inequality has grown dramatically in the UK.
By analysing 2019 regional data, the study explains that seven UK regions, including Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, now qualify as Less Developed Regions. These regions have the greatest development need, and future investment is required through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
This is up from the five regions the CPMR identified when the think tank previously published a report in January this year.
Under the current 2014-2020 EU programme, only two regions – Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and West Wales and the Valleys - qualify as Less Developed Regions. The research clearly demonstrates that regional inequality is increasing in the UK.
Researchers estimate that UK regions would receive a minimum of €13bn of regional development funding for the 2012-2027 period if we remained in the EU.
In a media interview last month, the Prime Minister promised to plug this shortfall in funding with a discrete fund for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through the long-awaited Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).
Cornwall Council Leader Julian German said: “Amidst the ongoing political uncertainty, the Prime Minister has personally committed to replace EU funding in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly like-for-like with a dedicated fund that could be worth up to £100 million a year for the next decade.
“In Cornwall, thanks to sound financial management and our innovative approach to protecting services for our residents, business has carried on as normal. The Council is still delivering hundreds of services every day. But councils like Cornwall don’t have a magic money tree.
“Some of the funding pots Cornwall has benefitted from the most are the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Marine and Fisheries Fund, which are due to come to an end next year.
“Cornwall needs urgent EU replacement funding certainty to ensure that as a region we are no worse off after Brexit.”
Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This research underlines the need for an ambitious UK regional investment policy that recognises Less Developed Regions like ours and tackles economic inequality.
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to a discrete fund for our region, and we look forward to working with Government on delivering that investment.”
Read the full CPMR report, UK allocation for Cohesion Policy for 2021-2027.