How will loss of EU funding affect projects in Norfolk?

The Enterprise Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Enterprise Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The most deprived areas of Norfolk and Suffolk must continue to benefit from the level of funding which currently comes from the European Union, local leaders have said as Conservatives jostled for who would be the next prime minister.

Millions of pounds return to the region through Brussels each year to help drive innovation, boost farmers and build infrastructure,

In the aftermath of Britain's vote to leave the European Union and David Cameron's resignation, local leaders have sought assurance that cash will continue to flow into Norfolk and Suffolk.

While ministers and MPs who were part of the push to take Britain out of the European Union issued a statement during the campaign assuring the beneficiaries of EU funding they would continue to get cash, leaders now want assurances that the investment in the region will continue.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said: 'Throughout the EU debate, no one on the Leave side talked about removing funding from small businesses, agriculture or research and development. What we now want is government to clearly state that this funding will continue – either through existing mechanisms or directly by central government. We expect government to honour those commitments; anything less will be unacceptable to the thousands of small businesses and employees, who benefit from funding and skills support, many of whom are in the most deprived areas of Suffolk and Norfolk.'

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William Nunn, leader of Breckland Council, said: 'I wouldn't be bidding to government to replace EU funding because I would be bidding to government for funding for specific projects. A great example would be the health agenda in Thetford, where we got £1m from the NHS. Things will, without doubt, be different. We will have to do things differently – there will be different players at the table,' he added.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, said Broadland had used EU funding opportunities in the past to finance projects that deliver benefits and value to local communities, including providing energy-efficient homes and business. He added that there was great potential for funding to continue through devolution.

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Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters said: 'The Brexit campaign's emphasis on the alleged costs of EU membership will have influenced a lot of people to vote leave.

'However, since the referendum there is a sudden awareness of the important funding which the UK will lose as a result of voting to leave the EU.'

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