Councils pitch for EU funds post-Brexit

28 Jul 17

The government must match current levels of EU funding given to local councils following Brexit, councils have said.

A Local Government Association report, Beyond Brexit, published today, called on Whitehall to grant councils the £8.4bn (€10.5bn) they were due from the European Structural Investment Fund between 2014 and 2020.

Kevin Bentley, chair of the LGA’s Brexit Task and Finish Group, said:

“Since the referendum, one of the biggest concerns for councils has been the future of vital EU regeneration funding.

“Councils have used EU funds to help new businesses start up, create thousands of new jobs, roll out broadband and build new roads and bridges.”

Bentley said the LGA wanted to work with the government to develop a “fully-funded and locally driven successor” to current arrangements, which would work across the UK.

Since the EU referendum, council leaders have repeatedly called for a government commitment to replace vital EU regeneration funding.

In their manifesto, the Conservatives pledged to create a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to replace the money local areas currently receive from the EU.

Council leaders stated they want to avoid defaulting to a silo-approach and creating a like-for-like replacement of the current EU programme, which is often bogged down in government bureaucracy and delay.

Currently, funding from the EU is allocated over a seven-year period to facilitate long-term planning, but the LGA argues that the new system should have easier access to funding which gives local areas greater control over how it is spent.

According to the LGA, Brexit provides a “historic opportunity” to give local areas more power to target a new and simplified regional aid fund for the benefit of local communities.

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