Broken Brexit promise set to cost South Yorkshire £900m says Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield

A Sheffield MP claims the Government has ‘sold us out on another Brexit promise’ after a flagship fund was found to be £1 billion a year short.

Friday, 28th January 2022, 8:28 am
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 8:29 am

Paul Blomfield said ‘time and again’ he was told the Shared Prosperity Fund would ‘at a minimum’ match EU funding lost due to the UK leaving the European Union.

WHAT DID THE UK GET FROM THE EU AND WHAT’S ON OFFER NOW?

But a Treasury Committee report has highlighted the new fund is due to be worth £1.5bn a year until 2024/5 compared to EU structural funds which were worth £2.5bn a year.

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Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield said ‘time and again’ he was told the Shared Prosperity Fund would ‘at a minimum’ match EU funding lost due to the UK leaving the European Union.

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The committee looked into October’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review.

Its report states: “It is surprising that the size of the fund is being reduced to such an extent. The Government will need to demonstrate how these reduced funds will achieve their defined metrics for levelling up.”

HOW MUCH IS THIS SET TO COST SOUTH YORKSHIRE?

The Treasury Committee looked into Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Autumn Budget and Spending Review. Its findings cast doubt on the government’s promise to 'at a minimum match' EU funding.

Mr Blomfield said the reduction would cost South Yorkshire £900m over six years.

He added: “The Treasury Committee’s findings confirm what many of us feared – that the Tories have sold us out on another Brexit promise.

“As one of Europe’s poorest regions areas, South Yorkshire has been a big winner from EU funding. Now the Tories have taken back control of the money, they’re cutting it almost in half and, as they share out what’s left, we’re set to lose again.

“I stood at the despatch box in Parliament and quizzed Michael Gove and other ministers over their referendum promise to deliver economic development funding to match what we’d got from the EU.

“Time and again I was told that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund would match EU funding. Now the truth’s out and the numbers tell a different story. Our communities are being short-changed, hitting jobs and livelihoods.”

He added: “EU funding made so much difference across our region, investing in roads and infrastructure, providing training and creating jobs. Local businesses are already being hit by the problems of Boris Johnson’s flawed Brexit deal; this is just another blow.”

WHAT DID THE GOVERNMENT TELL THE STAR?

In November, a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman told The Star that claims of huge spending cuts were ‘unfounded’.

He said: “The UK Shared Prosperity Fund – worth over £2.6 billion - will at a minimum match the size of EU funds in all nations, helping people across the UK to access opportunity and better their skills.

“This Government’s central mission is to level up every part of the United Kingdom by spreading opportunity, empowering local leaders, improving public services and regenerating our town centres and high streets.”

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