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Red Wall robbed of £1 billion by Brexit


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The so called ‘Red Wall‘ and other poorer areas of England will lose up to £1bn of development cash this year because of Brexit, despite Boris Johnson’s vow to “level up” the country.


The government promised to match the grants – to build local economies by attracting businesses and jobs – when the UK left the EU, but has yet to set up a promised replacement fund.


Instead, just £220m is being made available across the whole of the UK for 2021-22, and no money has yet been handed out at all – even though the financial year is nearly halfway over.


Areas of the North and Midlands, many of which switched to the Tories at the 2019 election after the prime minister’s “levelling up” pledge, received £500m a year from EU Structural Funds, new analysis shows.


Now they will receive only a slice of the stopgap £220m Community Renewal Fund – amid further anger that councils had to put in bids, rather than be allocated cash according to need.


In total, English regions were awarded £1.12bn from the EU in 2018, the latest available figures – suggesting a loss of up to £1bn this year, depending on allocations from the stopgap fund.


The biggest likely losers are the Midlands (£190m in 2018), Yorkshire (£143m), Cornwall (£95m), the north west (£88m) and the north east (£80m), according to the figures obtained by Labour.


Wales will be even harder hit – having been in line to receive £373m a year in the EU – while Scotland received £125m a year.


Steve Reed MP, Labour’s shadow communities secretary, said: “This research makes a mockery of the Conservatives’ pledge to to fix the gigantic regional inequalities they have created.




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