I led a debate in Parliament yesterday which called for the Government to commit to replacing the 13 billion euros worth of funding which the UK would have been set to receive as a member of the EU. My priority was the £605m for South Yorkshire as one of five ‘Least Developed Regions’.
Shockingly we’ve got this designation as one of the poorest regions in Europe because our GDP has fallen below 75% of the European average. We hit this low point before, when Margaret Thatcher decimated our coal and steel industries and EU funding turned our economy around, supporting major projects like the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and road building in the Dearne Valley, as well as community-based skills training run by groups like Manor Training & Resource Centre.
I worked with MPs from across parties and from each of the five ‘Least Developed Regions’ to call on the Government to make good on the promise that we would not be worse off as a result of Brexit. This is the third time I’ve raised this issue, having also written to the Minister and pressed it in a debate in May, yet the Government is still refusing to make the commitment. But I won’t give up on the issue.
The clip below has some extracts from my speech, but you can watch the full debate here – I’m the first speaker, and my closing speech responding to the Minister starts at 15:59:25.