Industrial Strategy lets us take back control of local development

25-Jan-2017 @ 10:00

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Industrial Strategy lets us take back control of local development

The UK Government's new Industrial Strategy is an opportunity to make better use of some of the billions of pounds currently paid into EU structural funds, says Conservative MEP Andrew Lewer.

Responding to the green paper launch, Regional Development and Education spokesman Mr Lewer said the Strategy would enable greater control to be taken of how local economies were regenerated post-Brexit.

He said: "We will be moving away from funnelling money through Brussels only for them to hand us one-third back accompanied by a long list of rules specifying how it can be spent.

"Through this ambitious Industrial Strategy we have a chance to focus public investment on where it is most needed, whether that be on building new roads, helping businesses expand or creating new institutes of technology."

From 2007 to 2013, the UK contributed £29.5 billion to EU Structural and Cohesion Funds and received about £8.7 billion, or 29 per cent, in return.

Mr Lewer, a former leader of Derbyshire County Council and a current vice president of the Local Government Association, welcomed the Government's proposal for "strong and accountable place-based governance" to steer the Industrial Strategy at a local level.

"In making the most of Brexit it will be important for us not just to replace Brussels centralisation and bureaucracy with the Whitehall variety," he said. "The Government gets that.

"I believe local people, in many cases through the involvement of local authorities, should have as large a role as possible in the workings of the Strategy."

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