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Devon to get share of £2.5billion extra funding from EU

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 12, 2013

Devon to get share of £2.5billion extra funding from EU

Comments (13)

David Cameron has confirmed Devon is in line for a massive injection of European Union cash after returning from triumphant budget negotiations.

The Prime Minister revealed to MPs the county is one of 11 UK regions that will share around £2.5 billion of regeneration money to revive their flagging economies from next year.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were already set to receive almost £400 million in hand-outs of so-called structural aid as it remains England's poorest region.

Until yesterday, fears were mounting that Devon would get left behind, with firms flocking to Cornwall to set up business at the neighbouring county's expense.

MPs, politicians and councillors were last night relieved Devon had been granted "transition region" status.

Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West, said: "Extra European money for Devon will bring new jobs, will bring economic growth and will provide the funding needed to expand our skills base in the Westcountry.

"It is now up to businesses, voluntary groups, local councils and the local economic partnership to come up with the best plan for how to spend this extra funding."

In the Commons, the Prime Minister unveiled the 11 regions lined up for a cash boost as he hailed a real-terms cut in the EU's next seven-year budget as a good deal for Britain. Transition status ring-fences cash for hard-pressed regions rather than being swallowed up in the 908 billion euro budget, and promises more money than the areas would have got under previous spending rounds.

In March, official figures revealed Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's Gross Domestic Deposit Product (GDP) is still below 75% of the European average – meaning it is in line for seven more years of help, worth around £410 million, from next year.

The GDP of Cornwall and the Scillies was 71.9% of the European average in 2009, meaning it remains poorer than parts of Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

A category of regions "in transition", which have a GDP between 75% and 90% of the EU average, stand to get funding, but not on the same scale. Across the Tamar, Devon qualifies as it recorded output at 86.5%.

But recent research showed that in areas of Devon, including Torbay, North Devon, and Teignbridge, there is significant higher risk of sliding into poverty compared to Cornwall and the rest of the UK.

Some £1 billion pumped into Cornwall has paid for one of the fastest broadband connections in Europe, the development of Newquay Airport and the Combined Universities in Cornwall project.

Conservative leader of Devon County Council, John Hart, said: "We don't yet know what the budget will be, but it should mean Devon will be eligible for a bigger proportion of European funds for major projects designed to boost the economy and create jobs.

"If Devon can secure greater European subsidy, then our key economic growth projects stand a greater chance of going ahead. It's early days yet, but I am cautiously optimistic this is very good news for the Devon economy and the prosperity of our residents."

North Devon Lib Dem MP Nick Harvey said: "Having made the case to ministers since last year for the creation of a 'transition region' for Devon, I am very pleased that this funding is to become a reality. The potential economic boost provided by 'transition' status will benefit our communities through a more targeted, bottom-up approach which will fit with local needs and priorities for growth and vital job creation."

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  • Baby_boomer  |  February 17 2013, 12:23PM

    realityzone, Glad to oblige, 1. The primary reason for the accounts problem is that individual governments within the EU cannot satisfactorily report to the EU Commission or European Parliament precisely how they are spending the funds allocated to them each year. This is, of course, totally unacceptable and steps do need to be taken to address this problem which has gone on far too long. However, the fault lies essentially with individual states, not the EU itself and we in the UK are just as guilty as anybody else in this respect. Perhaps one of the most blatant scenarios which exemplifies this was DEFRA's distribution of funds received from the EU to assist with the Foot & Mouth outbreak. A lack of accurate record-keeping at DEFRA meant, for example, that the EU could not establish who was paid how much or when out of its funds to slaughter infected animals – an incidental reason also being that, quite rightly, the sums so paid might need to be cross-checked with tax returns of the recipients. As I have said, unacceptable practice, but not per se the fault of the EU. 2. The total number of people employed by the EU (total population 740 million) is less than Birmingham City Council (total population of just one million). Value for money, I should say. 3. Are you really that naive to believe that regulations wouldn't exist if the UK were outside the EU? Westminster politicians would have almost certainly introduced those which we have at present whether we had joined the EU or not in the first place. And of course we would still have to comply with the EU's regulations in order to trade with EU nations from the outside. 4. As for the Euro, when this was launched, the Europhobes were predicting its imminent demise. Strange that, because at the time a Euro cost about 65 sterling pence whereas today the Euro's value has risen considerably (in spite of the Greek fiasco) and a Euro now costs 86 pence – i.e. it is today some thirty percent stronger than its inception date. 5. Do check your grammar dearie – "reign" and "doggy" (I ask you!). Perhaps it is true after all that foreigners really do have the best command of the English language.

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  • realityzone  |  February 17 2013, 8:27AM

    The usual response from someone who is with a very doggy position to defend is to start personally attacking those who disagree, so babyboomer's posts are no surprise. But we still pay much more into the EU than we receive back. The regulation factory is still there - perhaps as you are so well informed you can tell us exactly how many people are employed into it? As to worn " out gramophone records" and your other insults, it seems to me that you have swallowed hook line and sinker the constant propaganda churned out by the EU on which they spend millions of pounds - And, whilst we are on the subject how aware are you of the other countries in the EU who are concerned about business regulation and want it reigned back. They still have structural problems with the Euro, and they still can't get their accounts audited.

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  • Baby_boomer  |  February 14 2013, 12:17PM

    I spy yet even more anti-EU rubbish from the inappropriately named "realityzone" below. Glad to see, however, that you cannot dispute the contribution figures quoted previously though. As for the UK's EU Budget rebate, I suggest that you actually read up and, I know it might be asking a bit much of you, comprehend precisely why this was brought into existence in the first place. Being ignorant of something is no shame, but advertising the fact can make one look rather stupid. Nevertheless, like a worn out gramophone record, you seemed to have fallen hook, line and sinker over the falsehood that it is the EU which is forcing regulations on businesses. Fact is (check with the House of Commons Library), 91% of laws in this country originate at Westminster, so don't fall for the Faragesque-style twaddle that it's all the fault of those beastly foreigners. Strange also that so-called regulatory burdens on business don't inhibit success in Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere across Europe.

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  • realityzone  |  February 13 2013, 9:17AM

    Baby_Boomer making false assumptions with no evidence. I am not a member or supporter of UKIP, or taking my views from newspapers, so wrong there. But this is what happens when people swallow the "smoke and Mirrors" stuff that is put out by the EU. In fact the EU has grown out of deception with the myth that is was to be a "Common Market" Per capita figures or not the fact is that this country contributes more money to the EU than it gets back, this is what all the negotiations for "rebates" has been about. Financially our membership of the EU has been a bad deal and their regulations factory is putting more burdens on business which is why jobs are exported to those countries without such a heavy culture of regulation. The regulations factory will not dismantle itself so expect ever more intrusions into the minutiae of your life. you don't need to be in order to

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  • eu_blues  |  February 12 2013, 7:44PM

    Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were already set to receive almost £400 million in hand-outs of so-called structural aid as it remains England's poorest region. This is Devon £400 million that won't develop the skills base needed to create a solid manufacturing base in the UK. £400million that won't be spent on the most important elements, proper jobs, better transport infrastructure and a better economic outlook, rather than endless economic recessions driven by the BIG BOYS in the City of London, namely the central bank of England. Keeping the UK in perpetual austerity just serves nobody but the banksters. Britain's economy is being driven to the wall by the government and it's central bank, but this money won't add anything to making Devon or Cornwall better in the long run. Just more EU money that will vanish into the darkness of a rather large hole... never to be seen again.

  • Baby_boomer  |  February 12 2013, 12:20PM

    Typical anti-EU rubbish from "realityzone" below. Presumably based upon the trash, innuendo and other distorted put out by the bus-pass party (a.k.a. UKIP) and its chums in the Telegraph, Mail and Express. In fact, of the 27 nations who are members of the EU, the UK lies in fourteenth place (co-incidentally the mid-way point) when it comes to the gross contributions made to EU funds per person. The biggest contributors per capita are Luxembourg (545 euros per person), Denmark (381), Finland (335), Sweden and Belgium (each 304). Oh, and the UK, we pay a mere 180 euros each. An absolute bargain.

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  • shaun_us  |  February 12 2013, 10:03AM

    Well after our council takes out there cut for splashing out on the life centre,there might be some money left for a couple of pot holes to be filled in?.and then we,ll be told there's no money left and our taxes will still go up, up, up and up.because the more they got in there bank account the more interest they get back,for the fat cats of plymouth .p.s AIRPORT PLEASE that flys to more places than london, and manchester,and scotland. try france ,germany,italy,ect ect it might get used far more then.

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  • Waltersmith  |  February 12 2013, 9:55AM

    @timplymouth I can hardly agree with you more. The money must be spent on sorting the A38 to the Tamar Bridge, building a HS3 from Exeter to Plymouth, setting out massive enterprise parks all along the revamped A38 and finally creating a proper growth hub for the peninsular

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  • westwardhobod  |  February 12 2013, 9:50AM

    By the time our councils consultants take a cut there will be nothing left!!!

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  • Waltersmith  |  February 12 2013, 9:44AM

    Cornwall poorer than parts of Rumania eh!

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