The Department of Trade & Industry has announced how it intends to spend £6.4bn in EU Structural Funds over the next seven years, with Cornwall, West Wales and Valleys, and the Highlands and Islands sharing £1.7bn, with the remainder shared among the rest of the UK.
Structural funds are designed to support the poorer regions of Europe, integrate EU infrastructure and support development, although the allocation is a small part of the UK's total regional spend. The slice awarded to the UK is down from £10.6bn for the seven years to 2007.'All the richer countries in western Europe have been allocated a reduced slice of the cake this time round. That is partly because the British economy has been such a success in the past seven years and partly to allow money to be given to the new states joining in eastern Europe,' said minister of state for industry and the regions Margaret Hodge.While the size of the funding has been agreed, the EU now has to rubber-stamp the government's allocation before the money can be spent in the new year.'We are confident that the rules we have drawn up will mean the money is used in the fairest way for every region. No one is excluded,' she said.