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Clarity sought over EU funds

Published: 13 Aug 2016 14:34

Derek Mackay calls for real certainty from Treasury.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has urged the UK Government to guarantee crucial EU funding streams to end uncertainty and help bring stability to the economy.

Mr Mackay said the failure to provide comprehensive, long-term guarantees left farmers, fishermen and communities across Scotland facing significant threats to critical investment and jobs.

Mr Mackay has written to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, acknowledging the partial commitments from the UK Government announced late last night. These commitments, however, do not go far enough and still leave almost £750 million not yet guaranteed.

Commenting on the Chancellor's approach to EU funds, Mr Mackay said;

"We will study the detail but what is already clear is the Chancellor's approach falls far short of what fishermen, farmers and communities across Scotland need.

"A limited guarantee for some schemes for a few short years leaves Scotland hundreds of millions of pounds short of what we would receive as members of the EU.

"Major funding stream such as contracts for EU structural funds and European Maritime Fisheries projects beginning after the Autumn Statement have no guarantee of continuation at all. That simply isn't good enough.

"Scotland has taken a sensible approach on funding commitments to ensure value for money and maximising outcomes. The uncertainty caused by the UK Government delaying decisions could lead to the financial exposure of many millions of pounds if this is not addressed.

"It puts significant investment and jobs at risk, revealing the reality of Brexit. Scotland didn't back Brexit and doesn't want Brexit. We certainly should not now see funding and investment in communities hammered as a result of Brexit.

"Since the outcome of the EU referendum, we have urged the UK Government to provide clarity and certainty on these vital funds. Yet, all that is clear with this announcement is that the uncertainty will continue. We will of course engage urgently with the Treasury to seek a way forward, and provide what reassurance we can to proposed beneficiaries.

"The best way to guarantee the jobs, investment, services and projects all over the country which depend on this funding beyond 2020 is by maintaining Scotland's relationship with the EU."

Notes to editors

CAP Pillar 1 subsidy schemes will be guaranteed until 2020, contracts for EU structural funds, CAP Pillar 2 or European Maritime Fisheries projects beginning after the Autumn Statement will receive no such treatment.