Brexit-voting Cornwall demands £700m from the government to make up for lost EU funding

PUBLISHED: 13:32 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:37 29 July 2020

Surfers play in the waves during the hot sunshine on Great Western beach in Newquay, Cornwall. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA.

Surfers play in the waves during the hot sunshine on Great Western beach in Newquay, Cornwall. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Cornwall council has called on the government to provide it with £700 million in funding which the Brexit-backing region will lose when it leaves the EU.

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Council chief executive Kate Kennally will meet with local government minister Simon Clarke at the end of July to discuss a plan to plug the shortfall in cash, which was meant to support the region’s economy over the next 10 years.

Cornwall has accessed £765 million EU funds since it was granted Objective One status by the bloc in 1999.

The money has gone towards projects to boost Cornwall’s tourist economy such as the Eden Project - a tourist hotspot which since increased the region’s income by £1.7 billion - a new airport terminal, a local university, superfast broadband and a business start-up fund.

But 56.5% of voters backed Leave during the 2016 referendum on EU membership.

Asked whether the figure included a bail-out for businesses badly affected by the coronavirus, Kennally said: “The amount is the same as what Cornwall Council has been calling for in terms of the equivalent of what Cornwall would have received from the EU and as the level of funds to catch up with other parts of the country as part of the levelling up agenda.

“We are calling for it as a single pot to prevent us having to continually bid for separate pots. We want to have the funding in a single pot that will be managed by organisations here in Cornwall.”

Many felt this was an example of the chicken coming home to roost in responses to the initial report on Twitter.

“Oh crumbs. Remind me again on how Cornwall voted in that criminal referendum, despite being funded by EU rather than UK (from Russia, with love). And again for May’s ‘surprise’ snap election (from Russia with love). Did they also vote for the Clowns in December? (Russia again),” @knittedKittie shared on Twitter.

“And so the hurt of the Brexit Hangover begins...” Tracey Eva Edwards pointed out.

Rhys Howell joked about how “easy” it would be for Westminster to stump up the cash now it was no longer sending money to the EU: “Cornwall demands £700m after #Brexit. Should be easy, 2-week’s pocket money for UK government. £350 million a week remember we’ll be saving. But I mean, it’s what they voted for.”

Steve Sedgwick wrote: “Good luck with this Cornwall. You voted leave now it’s time to swallow the bitter pill of reality. Project fear pointed this out but were dismissed.”

English professor Andrew McRae wrote: “What a desperately sad story this is. All those Brexit myths of British greatness somehow overlooked the fact that the UK has some of the poorest regions in Europe, that gained considerably from EU support. Good luck getting that from the Tories.”

Others were defensive. Sharon Hawthorne said: “Tbf the Leave argument all along was that EU money was ‘our’ money coming back to us and we would be better deciding how it is spent than Brussels. So it’s reasonable for our most deprived county to ask for it but I fear Cornwall is about to find out it was lied to.”

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