John calls for inquiry into European funding decision

A LOCAL MP fighting for a fair European funding settlement for South Yorkshire has called for a Parliamentary inquiry.

In June the government announced EU funding for Sheffield city region for 2014-2020 would be €203m – a worse than expected cut of 61 per cent.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey has been fighting for a fair settlement for months, arguing against South Yorkshire’s money being used to ‘top up’ Scotland, which has a far stronger economy.

With the government refusing to change their minds, now Mr Healey has called on the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to carry out an inquiry into the decision.

In a letter, the MP told chairman Adrian Bailey the methodology behind the allocation was “severely and demonstrably flawed” and had resulted in “unfair and unjustifiable disparities” between South Yorkshire and other parts of the country.

He said: “Sheffield city region has huge potential. I want to see a fair set of allocations because I want to see our area reach that potential and create the jobs, growth and prosperity which will benefit our local community and the country as a whole.”

Because of the way the government has allocated these EU funds, Sheffield city region is due to receive just €117 per head – far less than other, wealthier areas. As it stands, Coventry and Warwickshire will get €254 per head and Cheshire and Warrington – where the Chancellor has his constituency – €157 per head despite both having regional incomes significantly higher than South Yorkshire.

Yorkshire MEP Linda McAvan is also keeping up the pressure in Brussels. She has passed on a joint statement from Sheffield and Liverpool city regions to Commissioner Hahn, the European Commissioner for the Regions. The MP and MEP were part of a delegation who met the Commissioner in Brussels to press South Yorkshire’s case last month.