Clegg asked to explain EU action

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been asked to explain what action he took to help Sheffield get a ‘fair deal’ in EU funding.

South Yorkshire councils challenged a decision by Vince Cable to slash their share of a six billion Euro budget from £350 million to £175m – but on Monday learned the appeal had failed.

Now Oliver Coppard, the Labour candidate for Mr Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam, has sent his rival a letter asking what representations he made for Sheffield Hallam in Government, and what he did to make sure the region received the maximum funding possible.

He also queried the impact that the loss of £175m would have on projects.

Mr Coppard wrote to Mr Clegg: “The funding cut is just another kick in the teeth for Sheffield after your Government’s decision to cut Sheffield Council’s funding by over £210m and the disastrous decision to cancel the £80m loan to Forgemasters, all of which have limited job creation, growth, and prosperity in the city you were elected to represent.”

Mr Coppard said the distribution of funds using a formula was decided at the ‘highest levels of Government’ and 80 other formulas were available.

Sustainability, small business support and capital infrastructure projects would be lost as a result, he added.

But a spokesman said Mr Cable made the decision, backed by Government.

A statement added: “If Mr Coppard had checked his facts he would know it was Labour who slashed EU funding from £153m in 2007 to just £20m per year by 2011. In contrast funding for South Yorkshire has increased to £23m this year.”

It said Sheffield was seeing a ‘jobs boom’, with around 20,000 more people with jobs and out-of-work benefit claimants down, rather than there being ‘limited job creation’.

The statement said: “Instead of Labour politicians doing our city down in order to further their own political agenda we should all be working together to ensure Sheffield’s success continues.”