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EU funding must be urgently replaced for Highlands and Islands

Inverness College UHI is just one of the educational facilities that make up the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
Inverness College UHI is just one of the educational facilities that make up the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

MSPs have been warned that replacements for EU funding in the Highlands and Islands must be found urgently after Brexit.

Evidence submitted to Holyrood by the Highlands and Islands European Partnership (HIEP) expressed concern over the end of European and Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) which have invested around £1billion in the area since the 1970s.

A HIEP document noted the funds only existed until the end of 2020 and added that there was “a real urgency for detailed planning for any replacement if a hiatus between current and future programmes is to be avoided in early 2021.”

The document was handed to Holyrood’s Finance committee, in advance of an appearance by Angus MacLeod, HIEP policy officer.

HIEP argued that future funding must take into account the remoteness, low population, distance from markets and the “inflated” cost of doing business in the Highlands and Islands.

EU cash has helped fund the University of the Highlands and Islands and many other projects including broadband roll-out and cultural activities.

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