EU Cash for the Highlands, or its replacement, must continue
Questioning the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, Jamie pointed out that important projects such as new roads and harbours would simply not have happened if it hadn’t been for EU cash in the past.
Speaking in the Chamber Mr Stone said:
“Mr Speaker, if I could magic you and the Prime Minister to the beautiful Scottish Highlands, I would show you infrastructure projects such as roads, harbours and airports that would not have happened had it not been for European money. That expenditure was incredibly important in reversing the depopulation that was the historic curse of the highlands. When I return to my constituency at the end of this long week, what should my answer be when my constituents say to me, “Jamie, what will replace this money?”
In response the Prime Minister said:
“We will be putting in place the shared prosperity fund, which will look at disparities that occur between nations of the United Kingdom, and within communities and regions of the United Kingdom. We will obviously consult on how the shared prosperity fund will operate, but it will ensure that this is a country that works for everyone.”
Commenting afterwards Jamie said:
“I had hoped for better from the Prime Minister. All I got was the standard line which might apply in Cornwall as much as it applies in my constituency. The fact is that European money was massively important and did play a part in halting and reversing the curse of the Highlands – people and their families moving away and never coming back.
“In these uncertain times it is my job to make the argument that in the past this funding was crucial and that in the future it must be continued pound for pound. As far as I can see the Prime Minister’s so-called deal would leave us worse off. Perhaps this is why she so obviously failed to answer my question.
“Any failure by the Government to address this issue would be regarded as a betrayal of one of the remotest parts of the UK.”
Information about the amounts of funding the Highlands receives can be found here: https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/3228/information_pack_on_the_european_union