Jude comment on the government's Stronger Towns Fund announcement

04 March 2019

The 'Brexit bribe' for poorer towns falls short of fixing what Tory austerity has caused in our region, North East Labour MEPs said today.

Commenting on the £1.6bn funding boost offered to left-behind towns by Prime Minister Theresa May, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP and Paul Brannen MEP said: 

“This 'bribe' seeking Labour MPs’ backing for the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal simply doesn’t cut it for deprived towns in the North East of England. Years of Tory austerity and cuts have done incredible damage to our communities and have inflicted great misery on our people, a shameful fact recognised at UN level.

“Redcar & Cleveland Council alone has lost £90m because of this current government - to believe that as little as £15m per year for the whole of the North East can remedy the situation and ensure long-term investment in skills and jobs, is an example of the fantasy politics that got us into this Brexit mess in the first place.

“What is even more frustrating is knowing that our EU membership would have brought €13bn in regional investment to the UK. Depressingly, due to increasing inequality Tees Valley and County Durham alone would have benefitted from the highest levels of support available at around €500 funding per capita, with the rest of the region subject to substantial support, based on projected allocations for 2021-2027.

"While the government promised a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace EU regional and social funds, to date no concrete plans have been published which is disastrous just 25 days away from us potentially leaving the EU with or without a deal.  The North East, along with many other deprived areas in the UK, needs and deserves more than these paltry scraps from this government.”

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