Highlands and Islands projects could lose over £100m in EU funding

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Projects across the Highlands and Islands could be set to lose over £100m in European Union funding following last week’s referendum result.

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29th June 2016 by Susan Smith 1 Comment

Projects across the Highlands and Islands could be set to lose over £100m in European Union funding following last week’s referendum result.

Figures from two separate European Union funds reveal that schemes across the region benefited from tens of millions of pounds between 2007 and 2013.

Kate Forbes MSP has now questioned whether future community initiatives will be put in jeopardy following the UK’s decision to leave the EU – despite Scotland voting to remain by 62 per cent to 38 per cent.

The £100m figure is based solely on ventures in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP’s constituency, and what they received from the Scotland European Social Fund Programme and the Scotland European Regional Development Programme. It does not include CAP payments.

For the 2014-2020 period, Scotland had secured a total investment of €941m split across these two funds.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “Funding from the EU has enabled a huge range of projects to get off the ground in the Highlands and Islands – from tourism to education to forestry.

“CalMac has been able to invest in new ferries in the past because of EU funding, whilst both the UHI and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have received grants in the region of £20m each. 

“The likelihood is that this £100m will have also generated significant match or additional funding from elsewhere – meaning the total value could easily be double this.

The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP continued: “I believe the EU has been critical to creating opportunities in the Highlands and Islands. 

“It is absurd that we are now considering the implications of a leave vote and presumably having vital funding removed against our will, especially when we voted to remain and know all too well the benefits of membership of the EU.

“This again underlines the fact that to have decisions made for Scotland, against the will of the Scottish people, is completely unacceptable.

“Those who have most to lose are hard-working families struggling to make ends meet in what is an already fragile Highland economy.”

4th July 2016 by Rose Burn

As Scotland is such a wealthy country we will be a net contributor to the EU budget if and when we enter the EU. Probably £2billion a year I reckon (Our pro rata share of the UK figure was £1.5bn)