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28th Nov, 2021

Euro cash won't get better, MP

Joshua Godfrey 7th Jan, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

FUNDING from the EU’s pot of cash to boost local economies has ‘declined substantially’ and won’t get any better in the future, Worcester’s MP says.

Robin Walker, speaking to the Observer ahead of an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017, has said European cash has been spent in Worcester, but will likely shrink even further as poorer countries join the union.

The European Regional Development Fund was set-up in the 1970’s, with major backing from the UK, to bridge the gap between richer and poorer member states, and to show the public the advantages of EU membership.

But, Mr Walker claims EU cash and whether or not it benefits the UK will be disputed between in and out campaigners.

“There are certainly a range of European grants that do get spent in Worcester but I suspect the critics of the EU will argue we pay more for them in taxes than we receive back in investment,” Mr Walker said.

“It it also the case that the amount of investment that our area gets from the ERDF has declined substantially and is likely to be still less in the future as more poorer areas in Eastern or Southern Europe join the EU and require greater investment in their infrastructure. I am sure this too will feature in the debate.

However, the city’s MP also said how foreign companies in Worcester value the UK’s membership of the EU as it opens the door to the European market.

“Of course the benefits of EU membership and the potential dis-benefits are about much more than a straightforward transaction and I suspect many of the arguments that will be made will be about the intangible and unquantifiable elements of its value,” he added.

“I know for instance that Mazak values our membership even as a Japanese company because it allows them to sell from Worcester into a large European market and attract top R&D talent from a number of countries, it is hard to put a monetary value on that.”

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