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Leaving the EU: Regional Funding

Volume 616: debated on Tuesday 25 October 2016

13. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on (a) the northern powerhouse and (b) regional funding. (906794)

The Government have provided a guarantee for all European structural and investment fund projects signed before the autumn statement. We have also provided a guarantee for all ESIF projects signed after the autumn statement and before the UK’s departure from the European Union, provided that they pass the value-for-money test and are in line with domestic strategic priorities.

I have listened closely to the Chancellor’s previous answers about regional distribution of investment. The latest figures show that only a quarter of national infrastructure projects are in either the north-west or the north-east of England, with just one of the top-funded 25 projects in that area. With further damaging cuts to public sector net investment due in the remainder of this Parliament, when will the Government address this inequality, match their rhetoric with action and start properly funding the northern powerhouse?

I make three points to the hon. Lady. First, we will have an autumn statement in just over four weeks’ time, and I will be able to set out more of our forward plans at that time. Secondly, I am not sure off the top of my head what the population proportion of the UK is in the north-west and north-east regions, but if the figures that she has quoted are correct, I am not so sure that a quarter of infrastructure investment represents disproportionate underfunding. I would need to check that. Thirdly, the very large investment in Crossrail, a strategically important national project, has had the effect of skewing infrastructure investment towards London over the past few years.