Of course, my hon. Friend will be well aware that leaving the EU creates fresh opportunities to allocate growth funding according to our own UK priorities, including the regeneration of towns. The Government are committed to creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to tackle these inequalities across our communities. Leaving the EU with a deal will mean, of course, that we remain in the existing programmes until they close. We have also protected this funding in the case of a no-deal scenario.
Will my hon. Friend confirm how we will make the Shared Prosperity Fund better than the EU programmes that it will replace?
My hon. Friend, and I think everyone across this House who has an elementary grasp of arithmetic, will know that for every €20 that we put into the EU pot we got €10 back, so we were a net contributor. We were the second biggest net contributor, and the logic of that is that we can more than compensate for the loss of EU funding across our communities. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will go some way to meeting those concerns.
Anyone with an elementary grasp of arithmetic can also read the latest studies showing that, had the United Kingdom being staying in the European Union, we would have received far more in regional development funding because of the increase in regional disparities under this Government’s austerity for the past 10 years. Will the Minister tell me that the Shared Prosperity Fund, of which we have no details with only 30 days to go to Brexit, will match the increased funding that we would have had from the European Union?
The point I was trying to make was that we as a country were a net contributor. We were the second biggest net contributor in the system that redistributed those funds. There is no doubt that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund can more than match EU funds. The details of that, as the hon. Lady well knows, will be discussed as we leave the EU on 29 March.
May I quietly and politely encourage the Minister to speak to his colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to make sure that funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will come in once we have left the European Union, is not required to be on a match funding basis? Our small towns up and down the country are unable to raise the match funding to access such funds, so the money ends up in the big cities, where the capital is available.
That is obviously an important part of the ongoing discussion. There is no doubt that, with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, we will be able to have a better, more sensitive regional allocation than is currently the case under the EU system.