Cornwall issues plea to keep EU funding after voting for Brexit

Cornwall receives millions of pounds in EU subsidies every year

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Cornish council has issued a plea for “protection” following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.

Cornwall, which has a poor economy and as such has received millions of pounds in subsidies from the EU each year for over a decade, voted decisively to Leave. 

But this money is now threatened following the severing of ties with the EU.

5 things we learned from a night that shook Europe

John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall council said: “Now that we know the UK will be leaving the EU we will be taking urgent steps to ensure that the UK Government protects Cornwall’s position in any negotiations.

“We will be insisting that Cornwall receives investment equal to that provided by the EU programme which has averaged £60m per year over the last ten years.”

European money has helped develop infrastructure, universities and broadband internet in the county. From 2007 to 2013, €654m was given to pay for these projects, the Financial Times reported. 

But a statement on the council website posted on Friday said prior to the referendum said the county was reassured by the Leave side that withdrawing from the EU would not affect the funding already allocated by Brussels.

Leave campaigners also promised the county would not be worse off in terms of the investment it receives. “We are seeking urgent confirmation from Ministers that this is the case,” the statement added.

Cornwall, which has a population of just 530,000 people, voted resoundingly to leave the EU, with 56.52 per cent opting for leave – more than the national average - compared to 43.48 per cent voting to remain.

The council said they will now be studying the impact of Brexit on Cornwall, “now and in the future”. 

While the majority of Cornwall’s MPs supported Brexit, there have long been warnings on the possible consequences to the county of its effects.

In 2014,Jonathan Lindsell, author of a report on industries benefit from the EU, told the Western Morning News: “Cornwall is a major beneficiary of EU spending so if Britain were to leave then the Treasury would have to take great care in ensuring its local economy was not crippled as a result.

“Not only do Cornwall’s many farmers and fishermen benefit from the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy respectively, but the county receives tens of millions of pounds a year in structural and convergence funds to support local economic growth and communities.

“In the 2014-2020 budget, Cornwall has been allocated 592 million euros from the convergence fund to assist with further development. If Britain leaves the EU before 2020 the government should seriously consider keeping this fund up.”