West Yorkshire projects receive more than £100m in EU funding, data reveals

The EU has provided more than £100m in funding for West Yorkshire projects since 2008, it has been revealed.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 9:35 am
Updated Friday, 13th March 2020, 10:03 am
The EU has provided more than 100m in funding for West Yorkshire projects since 2008, it has been revealed.

The data, collected by pressure group MyEU, shows almost 100 projects which received EU funding, from medical research to police projects.

Though the list is not definitive, it reveals that projects across Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees were involved in projects which received more than £100m in funding between 2008 and 2018.

Of this, at least £14m was granted directly to local schemes.

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Among these grants were a 1.6m payment to Calderdale Metropolitan District Council to help with flood alleviation in Mytholmroyd, and a 950,000 contribution to Wakefields People Enabling Area Transformation project, which supports enterprise in the district.

Among these grants were a £1.6m payment to Calderdale Metropolitan District Council to help with flood alleviation in Mytholmroyd, and a £950,000 contribution to Wakefield’s People Enabling Area Transformation project, which supports enterprise in the district.

A total of £5.1m was also granted to projects connected to the South Pennine Moors between 1995 and 2008.

Hope Thomas and John Lees-Miller from MyEU said: “When we built myeu.uk we found that EU had dozens of programmes that funded job creation, rural development, research, the arts and opportunities for young people in the UK.

“We, and a lot of people spoke to, didn’t know about all this local money being invested by the EU.

Total EU contribution to West Yorkshire by constituency, 1995 to 2018. Data courtesy of myEU.uk

“Now that we have left, the UK government will have to step up to create new programmes to replace this funding, and they don’t have much time.”

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, which is expected to conclude following the transition period at the end of the year, projects will no longer be eligible for the EU’s structural funding.

Instead, the government hope to replace the system with funding of their own, known as the The UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

This fund, which will help “reduce inequalities between communities”, is currently in development, though it is currently unclear if it will provide the same level of financial support as the EU structural funding, which has an estimated value of £2.1 billion a year.

Largest individual grants under EU structural funding to West Yorkshire projects, 2008 to 2018. Data courtesy of myEU.uk

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has called for post-Brexit funding to exceed that which is currently available, arguing that current EU funding has created thousands of jobs since it was allocated in 2014.

It wants a funding pot to be made directly accessible to members of the city region, which includes Leeds, York, Wakefield, Calderdale, Kirklees and more.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact of ESIF funding in Leeds City Region on our economy and, most importantly, on people’s lives. We need some encouraging signals from government about the direction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and assurances that Leeds City Region will be allocated funding which supports our continued prosperity and economic growth.

“The government’s commitment to a replacement fund is welcomed by the LEP, and we want to work with government to make sure this important new funding stream realises the greatest possible benefits.

“Most importantly we are seeking to ensure the essential funding the region will receive through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund exceeds our existing combined ESIF and Growth Deal investment.

“The government has a real opportunity to reduce bureaucracy associated with previous funds by devolving funding on a local basis. We would welcome the chance to work with the government to make this a reality.”