Business bosses urge Government to guarantee funding for region after Brexit

Andrew Hodgson

Andrew Hodgson

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Business leaders are asking the Government to guarantee the North East will not miss out on EU-funded projects post-Brexit.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is seeking reassurances European (EU) funded projects already signed off by Government will still be delivered.

To date, the North East LEP area has £89.5million of its £437million EU structural funding committed to projects for the 2014-2020 period.

A further £104.5million worth of projects were put forward to Government for approval in advance of the Referendum.

Collectively these projects will support more than 7,400 businesses across the North East LEP area, which covers Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

The funding will also support almost 30,000 local people into employment and provide those in employment with the skills they need to progress in work.

North East LEP chariman Andrew Hodgson said: “We are hopeful these projects will be honoured by Government and deliver important support to businesses and local people before Brexit happens.

“It is important to realise we will not be immediately losing the opportunities that EU funding has historically brought to the North East.

“Millions of pounds of projects are still likely to go ahead, bringing new jobs and closing the skills gap in the North East. The truth is that we just don’t know yet if or when we will see changes.

“EU funding has hugely benefitted the North East over the last few decades and we are lobbying Government for clarity and seeking assurances that any potential future funding gap will be filled. We urge the Government to provide this guidance quickly to ensure opportunities to create jobs and growth are not lost.”

There is no formal Government guidance available currently following the EU Referendum result on the amount of European funding that will be available in the future for North East businesses and organisations beyond the projects already approved.