After nine years of the Tories, South Yorkshire’s economy has again slipped behind and we’ve become one of Europe’s poorest regions. If we had stayed in the EU, we would have been granted £605 million of economic regeneration funding and I’ve been pressing the Government to honour their pledge that we won’t lose out – including leading a debate in Parliament on it. I was interviewed for yesterday’s Sunday Politics about it, after the promises that the Conservatives have made about investing in the north.
South Yorkshire benefitted hugely from previous EU funding, after Margaret Thatcher destroyed our steel and mining industries. Investment in infrastructure investment, community projects and training programmes to reskill people boosted our economy by over 8%. Yet the Government have refused to guarantee that we would receive at least the same amount that we were set to receive from the EU under their replacement programme – the Shared Prosperity Fund.
As you can see in the clip, they’ve only committed to match funding for existing projects, not future ones, which falls far short of the guarantees that we need, so I’ll continue to press the issue.