I spy with my little eye – yellow stars on a blue background…
If you look carefully, all across the UK there are blue plaques with yellow stars, announcing funding by the EU for that area.
Funding that has helped our country.
Funding that came from the EU, not the UK.
Funding that the UK government has not been willing or able to match since Brexit.
Some Brexiters claim it was Britain’s money in the first place, because our money paid for EU membership. But that’s not honest or realistic arithmetic.
The fact is that the UK got much more from our membership fee than it ever cost us. In that sense, EU membership cost Britain nothing. On the contrary, EU membership was hugely profitable for the UK.
Take Cornwall for example: one of the poorest areas of the UK. What did the EU ever do for Cornwall?
Probably more than many are prepared to admit or acknowledge.
Cornwall voted to leave the EU, and yet benefitted from high levels of EU structural funds.
Look, for example, at the photo above, which I shot recently on the South-West Coast Path in Bedruthan, Cornwall – only made possible with over £2 million of EU grant aid.
£2 million? It’s a drop in the ocean as far as EU funding for Cornwall is concerned.
As explained by CornwallforEurope.org:
‘Cornwall has received over 1 billion euros from the EU since the year 2000 which has helped fund jobs, local businesses, infrastructure, training and research.
‘Beneficiaries include the Combined Universities in Cornwall, Newlyn Fish Market, the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, the Camborne – Pool link road, the Eden Project, Superfast Broadband, and recently the new Penzance Heliport but there are many more.
‘It has created more than 31,000 jobs and supported more than 26,000 businesses.’
Cornwall had been on course to receive another £350m for the next round of funding from the years after 2020. But then, Brexit happened.
Here are just a few of the recipients of EU funding in Cornwall and the amounts they received:
• Newlyn Fish Market £1.3m
• The Eden Project £26m+
• Cornwall Airport Newquay £40m+
• Combined Universities in Cornwall £173m
• Superfast Cornwall (Broadband) £53.5m
• Hall for Cornwall £2.1m• A30 Improvements £20m+
• Innovation Centres (Pool, Tremough & Health & Wellbeing Treliske)
• Aerohub Enterprise Zone £4.4m
• Cornwall Business Start-Up £5.9m
• Cornwall New Energy £2.7m
• Cultivator Business Support £1m
• Engagement and activity for the unemployed £12.9m
• Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) £8m+
• Export for Growth £2.4m
• Family and Community Essential Skills £500k
• Financial Readiness Project £3m
• Heartlands Project £2.8m
• Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) Support Team £1.9m
• Invest In Cornwall £1.7m
• Isles of Scilly Technical Assistance £500k
• Isles of Scilly Voucher Scheme £1.4m
• Jubilee Pool, Penzance Geothermal Heat Project £1.5m
• Launchpad (Graduate start-up scheme) £9.8m
• Outset Cornwall (Business Start-ups) £3.4m
• Local Manufacturing Advisory Program £124k
• Skills for Young People £1.3m
• St Erth Multi Modal Hub (Transport Hub) £5.4m
• Superfast Business £3m
And here’s the rub:
“That Cornwall is one of the poorest regions in Europe suggests that this funding would not have come from our own Government. In 2017, Cornwall Council sought confirmation that £60 million of EU funding would not be lost but were awarded just £18 million instead.”
Were there ever any benefits from Brexit? I can’t find one. Not even one.
Jon Danzig is a campaigning journalist and film maker who specialises in writing about health, human rights, and Europe. He is also founder of the pro-EU information campaign, Reasons2Rejoin. You can follow Jon Danzig on his Facebook journalism page at www.Facebook.com/JonDanzigWrites