Council writes to politicians to ask for their support post-Brexit
A EUROPEAN programme, which has funded organisations in Eskdale, is excluded from a Scottish government consultation on how to replace EU funding now that the UK has Brexited.
The Dumfries & Galloway LEADER programme funded diverse projects such as the Langholm Initiative’s Making the Most of Moorlands, Pulling the Threads Together, which led to Weaving a Future for Eskdale, Stayin’ Alive, which led to Building a Future for Eskdale, Muckle Toon Media’s Hold the Front Page! and the Walled
Garden at Arkleton.
The programme, funded by European Structural Funds, finishes at the end of next month.
The fund has been very
important for rural areas and Dumfries and Galloway Council wants a similar consultation process to be carried out on these funding sources.
It is currently being asked to respond to the Scottish government’s consultation on replacing European Structural Funds.
Councillor Rob Davidson, economy and resources committee chairman, is writing to the region’s MPs and MSPs to outline the council’s position and ask for their support.
He will ask them to support future funding after Brexit which should be based on the 2021 recognised NUTS2 regions.
NUTS stands for Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics and Dumfries and
Galloway is part of the wider South Western Scotland NUTS2.
The population of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders was deemed too small by both governments to be designated a NUTS2 region so Dumfries and Galloway was linked with South Lanarkshire and the three Ayrshire local
authorities, while the Scottish Borders was placed in Eastern
NUTS 2 areas are used to
allocate the European Structural Funds on the basis of the Gross Value Added (GVA) per head compared with the EU average.
Determining whether a region qualifies for EU funding is a question of comparing its per person Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the EU average.
The formula for allocating the funding differs for each type of region but it is structured so less-developed regions get more funding per head than transition regions which, in turn, get more than more-developed regions.
The Southern Scotland NUTS2 area came into force in 2018 and is the NUTS2 area with the lowest GDP per head in the UK.
Lorna Meehan, director of economy and resources, said European Structural Funds had been an important support of economic development projects.
Dumfries and Galloway currently had funding of £4.329m for the period 2015 to 2022.
The UK government said all funding previously agreed with the EU programmes would continue to receive funding until the end of their programmes.
Mr Davidson said: “Being grouped with the other areas in the west, which includes
Glasgow, means our rurality was often ignored because the focus is on the larger cities.
“It also affected our GDP per head. It is important to recognise this. Through the current formula, when we are compared with London GDP per head, this creates the widest regional disparity in Europe.
“I will write to our members of the UK and Scottish parliaments to outline our position and to request support towards the future funding after
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, vice-chairman, said: “The focus of this funding should be on NUTS2 regions, like ours, which need additional support to tackle challenges which arise from our geography, population imbalance and low income.
“Place is an important part of this so regional bodies need to be empowered to make their own decisions on projects to be supported with long-term funding assistance.”