Green Councillors have raised questions about replacing lost EU funding after Brexit, amid fears that infrastructure projects will not go ahead. The questions were put to the leader of Sheffield City Council, who is also a member of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.
Cllr Paul Turpin says, “After decades of under-funding the North, by consecutive UK governments, it was the EU who stepped in to stimulate business and redevelop our ageing infrastructure.
“We demand a guaranteed action plan to continue funding the development of South Yorkshire for the next twenty years.”
Cllr Douglas Johnson says, “South Yorkshire qualified for huge amounts of EU money for infrastructure spending on issues like roads, rail, business and culture. It qualified because wages were so low in South Yorkshire, they had fallen to less than three-quarters of the average wage across the whole of Europe.”
“Such was the investment in South Yorkshire, as one of the most deprived areas in the EU, that almost £4 billion has been brought into the region since the year 2000, around half of which was directly funded by the EU and the rest due to match funding. That investment would not have been there without the original grants from the EU.
“Without that level of continued support, our region will be back where it was at the turn of this century, with crumbling civic buildings and a struggling local economy.
“For example, the excellent Grey to Green project of flood prevention and environmental improvements has been funded through the EU. Phase 2 is underway at Castlegate but future phases have yet to secure funding.”
- Recipients of EU funding include:
- Development of Howard Street
- Weston Park museum
- Queens Business Centre, Barnsley
- City Hall, Sheffield
- Moorgate Crofts, Rotherham
- Sheffield 35A Business Park, Sheffield
- Frenchgate Interchange, Doncaster
- Interchange, Barnsley
- Midland Train Station, Sheffield
- European Structural Funds in South Yorkshire 2000-2008 (pdf)
- Questions of Councillor Douglas Johnson to the Leader of the Council (Councillor Julie Dore)
What assessment has been made of the amount of EU funding to Sheffield that is expected to be lost on leaving the EU?
A.4 The Government has confirmed that it will guarantee all projects that would have been funded by the EU under the 2014-2020 programme period. Government has indicated that should EU funded programmes no longer be available after Brexit, they will be replaced through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). No details of this are currently available.
- Questions of Councillor Peter Garbutt to Councillor Bob Johnson (Cabinet Member for Transport and Development)
Has all the funding for current unfinished EU funded projects in Sheffield been received? if it hasn’t, where will the money to finish them come from?
A.2 The current EU funding programme runs until the end of 2020. However approved projects will have the ability to operate and incur expenditure until the end of 2023. Government has previously committed to underwrite all EU funded projects that have been approved and this commitment remains in place. Indeed a further call for projects seeking EU funding is expected to be published shortly. As a result any projects supported with EU grants that are not yet finished are not currently at risk of losing funding as a result of Brexit.
- From Council officers:
The funding over the past 20 years to South Yorkshire is as follows:
2000 – 06: €1,221m
2006 – 13: €451m
20014 – 20: €178m (increased to €183m)
Exchange rates have varied significantly over this period so it’s hard to value this in GB£ but the evaluation of the Objective 1 programme (00-06) had the value at between £692m and £820m with a total investment in the region (EU, other public and private) equivalent to £2.4bn.
The 07 – 13 Programme required a minimum public sector match equivalent to the EU funding but with additional private sector match the total value of the Programme would be c£1bn.
The current Programme is being valued at c£165m with an overall minimum investment value of £275m but this only partially captures some of the match funding so I would expect the overall value of the Programme to be significantly over £300m when completed.