Sheffield MPs fear South Yorkshire will lose £900m funding due to Brexit - but government brands concerns 'unfounded'
The Government has insisted it will ‘at a minimum’ match EU funding lost due to Brexit - branding Labour concerns it will cost South Yorkshire £900m ’unfounded’.
A spokesman for the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities said the UK Shared Prosperity Fund was worth more than £2.6bn.
More details of how it will be distributed will be set out ‘in due course’.
HOW MUCH IS THE NORTH MISSING OUT ON?
The Government responded after the SPF all-party parliamentary group protested over a ‘hidden’ £1.65bn post-Brexit cut to development funding in the North - with South Yorkshire poised to lose £900m over six years.
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A DLUHC spokesperson said: “These claims are unfounded. 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.”
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is for ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people in disadvantaged groups across the UK.
The Government is set to publish a ‘landmark’ Levelling Up White Paper this month, settting out ‘how bold new policy interventions’ will improve livelihoods across the country.
It comes after HS2 in Yorkshire was axed to save money.
Sheffield received £37m from the Levelling Up Fund last month.
The Government spokesman said local areas will also continue to spend investment from EU structural funds until the end of 2023.
It was previously used to help build the Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Catcliffe, Barnsley Interchange and Sheffield Station.
WHY HAVE SHEFFIELD MPS CRITICISED GOVERNMENT OVER THE FUND?
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said the SPF was already a year late, costing the country as much as £1.5 billion, and the Chancellor had almost halved it with a £2 billion cut.
He added: “Now it seems we won’t get our fair share. So much for all their talk of levelling up.
“The Tories promised that no area would lose out from Brexit, so for three years I’ve been pressing ministers to commit that South Yorkshire would get the same funding outside the EU as we would have got as members.
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“Now it’s clear why they refused to answer me. EU funds were allocated according to need but the Tories want to move the cash to their areas, as well as cutting the overall pot available.
“This is money used to build infrastructure, support skills and create jobs. They are cheating South Yorkshire out of investment by downgrading our funding.”
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, said the Government had ‘broken yet another promise’.
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He added: “You can’t paint this any other way but as a huge cut in in Government investment in the North and another broken promise to add to the growing pile of commitments the Conservatives have now abandoned.
“At the end of the day, we can only improve opportunities and economic growth in the North with investment in services and local economies. The Government has reneged on this.”