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£12million of funding to be lost in north-east due to Brexit

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Aberdeenshire Council is desperately reviewing how they will make up for £12 million of EU funding after Brexit.

The Scottish Government launched a consultation last year on how best to manage the overall funding cut if the UK was to leave the EU, estimated at £780 million in Scotland.

The reason given was that the UK government had “no clear vision” on how to manage the shortfall post-Brexit.

And now, Aberdeenshire Council has worked out that their share of lost funding amounts to £12,705,463.

Councillors will meet on Thursday to review a draft proposal to be submitted to the Scottish Government consultation.

The funding directly affects Aberdeen City and Shire Business Gateway, Inclusive Aberdeenshire, Aberdeenshire Employability Pipeline, North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group, North Aberdeenshire Leader and South Aberdeenshire Leader.

Council documents outline several concerns including budgetary pressures, outsourcing, environmental challenges and social risk such as “population changes, poverty and social inequality, demographic changes, crime, anti-social behaviour” as a result of losing EU funding.

The council has prepared a lengthy response to the government consultation.

It claims that by leaving the EU, staff could have more time to provide support to funding recipients, “rather than simply helping them to navigate complex bureaucratic systems and processes with little added value.”

The draft proposal reads: “A number of organisations have struggled to understand or comply with EU programme rules, requirements and processes.

“This has required extensive support to be provided by programme staff locally, although resources available have not always been sufficient to meet project sponsors’ expectations or requirements.”

However, it does suggest positives garnered as a result of receiving funding and support from the EU in recent years.

The draft report adds:  “One practical value of maintaining alignment with EU Cohesion Policy could be to ensure that trading arrangements with the EU are as smooth and frictionless as possible.

“By maintaining alignment in investment programmes, it would be easier to demonstrate a level playing field for businesses in the EU and UK.

“A further benefit could be to facilitate co-operation between the UK and EU countries/regions through carrying out co-operation projects.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure committee discuss the response on Thursday.

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