The county of Devon is in line to benefit from an EU funding boost after Prime Minister confirmed it would be defined as a 'transition region' and is one of 11 UK regions that will share around £2.5 billion of regeneration money to revive their flagging economies from next year.
The Prime Minister David Cameron was responding to questions from MPs after delivering a statement to the House on Monday on the outcome of last week’s European Council summit and the negotiations over the EU’s overall budget for the 2014-2022 period.
“I can confirm that Britain will benefit in terms of transition regions. We always go into these negotiations arguing that we need to look at all levels of spending and all economies, because it is rather hypocritical to argue, ‘You’ve got to cut the overall spending but you’ve got to protect every single bit of what Britain receives.’ The good news is that 11 regions are likely to benefit: Tees Valley and Durham, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Shropshire and Staffordshire, Highlands and Islands, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, Northern Ireland and Devon. Those will all, we hope, be transition regions under the new plans.”
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are already set to receive additional EU money through its structural fund programme as its GDP remains below 75% of the European Average and England's poorest region
. Two seven-year investment programmes – Objective One
followed by Convergence
– will have pumped close to £1 billion of taxpayers' money into Cornwall between 1999 and the end of next year.
There were fears that Devon would get left behind, and nine members of the UK parliament representing Devon and parts of Somerset handed a letter to the Prime Minister in December
urging him to support plans for a series of ‘transition zones’. Somerset appears to have missed out.
South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson
was delighted at the news. Speaking to the Western Morning News he 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."
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