Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Former Brexit mandarin warns leaving the EU poses ‘huge’ challenges to Highlands

Brexit will cost Highlands EU funding
Brexit will cost Highlands EU funding

Brexit poses a “huge” challenge to the Highlands with the loss of hundreds of millions in EU cash, the former UK Brexit Department head has warned.

Philip Rycroft last night urged north communities to face up to the issues caused by the withdrawal of EU structural funds and try to influence how it is replaced.

Mr Rycroft, who was permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU until earlier this year, was speaking at a lecture at the University of Highland and Islands in Inverness.

Warning that the Highlands and Islands were “more exposed” to Brexit than other parts of the UK, he said EU structural funds would disappear “over night”.

He went on to point out that the UK Government’s “Shared Prosperity Fund” proposed to replace the income stream was still short on detail.

“It begs a whole series of questions about how much money goes into that (the Shared Prosperity Fund), how it’s managed, what role the UK and Scottish governments have?” Mr Rycroft said.

“But ultimately what does this mean for parts of the country like the Highlands where there are disparities in terms of remoteness, standards of living and austerity to be overcome?”

He added: “People in the Highlands and Islands are going to have to look hard at all of this and work out where their interests lie and look to influence the decisions that are made.”

EU Structural Funds have been worth around 2.4 billion euros each year across the UK. Earlier this year it was calculated that had it not been for the 2016 Brexit vote more than £320m of EU cash would have come to the north and north-east over the next eight years.

“If you look at the main policy areas that have to change post Brexit, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), structural funds – these have been more important in the Highlands and Islands than pretty much anywhere else in the UK,” he said.

“So coming out of these means there is a huge policy challenge for the UK Government and the Scottish Government.”

Mr Rycroft forecast that fisheries would be dragged into future negotiations despite assurances from Boris Johnson they would not be used as a Brexit bargaining chip.

“The EU is likely to insist on a trade off between access to waters for EU boats and access to markets for fish products from the UK. That’s very straightforward,” he said.

He also said that Brexit was stressing the Union, arguing that when Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded a Remain majority and England and Wales voted to Leave it “could hardly be otherwise”.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Scottish politics team

More from the Press and Journal