In the wake of Brexit, the government should protect the “vital funding” provided by the EU to regional communities, the Local Government Association (LGA) has urged. However, with so much uncertainty at Westminster, could the EU funding for regeneration projects in the UK disappear completely?
Government urged to guarantee funding until 2020
In a post-Brexit statement, the LGA – which remained neutral during the referendum debate – expressed concern that local authorities in the UK could miss out on the agreed European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
“Communities in England have been allocated £5.3 billion of EU regeneration funding up to 2020,” the LGA explained. “It is important for the Government to guarantee it will protect this vital funding to avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and local economies across England being stifled.”
The UK had been allocated a sizeable chunk of the EU’s ESIF budget, which for the period between 2014 and 2020 stands at €454 billion. Among the projects to benefit from the funding are those concerning water supplies, internet infrastructure and small businesses.
‘No assumption’ that the EU’s influence will be transferred to Westminster
Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, the LGA said there “cannot be an assumption” that services partly regulated by Brussels – like waste management, trading standards and health and safety – will be automatically transferred to Westminster.
“If services are delivered locally, then the power over how to run them should rest locally too,” the organisation recommended. The LGA added that there is scope to see services improve, but only if councils are afforded greater control over decision making.
The LGA sought to reassure local authorities – many of which may be concerned about the effects of Brexit – that it will continue to represent their interests while details of the country’s withdrawal from the EU are finalised.
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