A fresh report has revealed Brexit could cost Aberdeenshire Council £11million in secured European funding.
The local authority has spelled out the financial implications of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, in advance of a meeting of its policy and resources committee next Thursday.
Projects aimed at benefiting the fishing sector and tackling poverty are among those now hanging in the balance.
These include a sum of £1,437,000 allocated to the North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, aimed at boosting the industry.
Grassroots Leader funding could be the worst hit, with £6,121,979 set aside to facilitate community-led developments.
This is split between £3,290,237 for north and £2,831,742 for south Aberdeenshire.
The council has been awarded £717,077 through the European Social Fund for Inclusive Aberdeenshire to tackle poverty and inequality, and £2,497,656 for Aberdeenshire Employability Pipeline.
A further £360,290 was awarded to augment business gateway services in the region.
The report has also claimed Brexit will impact on the north-east’s food and drink sector, adding there was “no firm date” for the cessation of any funding.
The council’s director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, admitted there were now “questions over the deliverability of European-funded projects and programmes managed by the council”.
He added: “The uncertainty created by the result and any withdrawal from the EU has significant implications for Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeenshire itself.
“The main implications for Aberdeenshire are likely to be economic and demographic. In the short term, uncertainty is predicted to negatively affect the economy.”
The UK voted to leave the EU on Thursday, June 23 by 51.9% to 48.1%, with a turnout of 71.8%, despite Scotland voting to remain.
The report stated that the Cairngorm National Park Authority could also be affected.
Last night, policy and resources committee member and convener of the CNPA, Peter Argyle, said: “There is massive uncertainty over the situation, nobody knows what is going to happen.
“There are clearly big question marks on some of the funding coming through the council.
“We have a number of council officers directly funded through European money as well. It is a totally unsatisfactory situation.
“You have to say a big mistake was made and the chickens have come home to roost.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s report admitted the local fishing industry “may benefit” from “reduced regulation”, but added the processing sector which has dealings with the EU could be negatively impacted.
The council’s director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said: “The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has welcomed the result, which it believes will have a positive impact on the way in which UK fisheries are managed.
“However, there will still need to be co-operation over fishing stocks in waters shared with other countries for sustainable stock management.
“Any ability to increase catch will not necessarily increase profitability as the laws of supply and demand will govern the prices paid for their products.
“The processing sector relies on exports to the EU and could be significantly affected if access to the single market is lost.”
He added the north-east farming sector – which receives between £75million and £100million of EU subsidies every year – would also be affected by Brexit.
Mr Archer said: “The agricultural sector is dependent on EU subsidies and would need to restructure in the event of this funding being removed and not replaced.
“Conversely, the sector may benefit from reduced regulation which could reduce costs.”