A new report by the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR) found that the European Union has planned to allocate £12 billion in funding to UK regions, should we remain a Member State.
The EU allocates its regional funding based on economic need, which means regions classified as 'least developed' become top priority when the seven-year budget is decided. As of today, 11 UK regions would qualify for top priority funding, including Tees Valley and County Durham.
Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East, said:
"The findings are bittersweet news. We know that the UK already has the highest regional inequality in the whole of Europe and the North East – especially Tees Valley and County Durham – desperately needs the extra investment.
"Unfortunately it seems this Tory government is adamant on stripping our region of the only bit of support we had left, in order to continue focusing on business and the rich in London. On top of that, the European Union allocates this type of funding purely based on need and irrespective of the politics at that given time. Tory governments on the other hand have never put the North East first – if anything, they actively sabotaged it."