Labour will ‘replace post-Brexit EU funding’ in UK

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Deprived areas “must be looked after first”, Emily Thornberry will say

Labour says it will replace any regional funding shortfalls caused by Brexit “into the 2020s and beyond”.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the multi-billion pound commitment would be a “central plank” of Labour’s next manifesto.

“The communities who stand to lose out most from Brexit must be looked after first,” she told Labour’s conference.

The government has said it will guarantee EU-funded projects signed before November’s Autumn statement.

It has also said agricultural funding now provided by the EU will continue until 2020.

Ms Thornberry told conference delegates in Liverpool the government’s offer was “hedged in conditions” and claimed it had “said nothing” about after 2020.

“Without long-term certainty over funding, our most deprived regions and communities cannot plan ahead. They cannot attract other investment. They cannot make progress,” she said.

“So thanks to John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, we can guarantee that a future Labour government will make up any shortfall in structural funding into the 2020s and beyond.”

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Emily Thornberry said the government had “no plan” for Brexit

Regions likely to benefit most from the scheme would be Wales, which is allocated £2.1bn under the current seven-year programme.

South west England is due to receive £1.3bn and the North West has been allocated £979m.

In her speech, Ms Thornberry also praised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was re-elected on Saturday, and accused the government of having “no plan” for Brexit.

“We cannot turn the clock back and run the Brexit vote again. We have been given our instructions by the British people and we must act on them,” she said, promising Labour would “stand up” for EU migrants, UK businesses and workers’ rights.

Labour also committed itself to opposing any attempts by the government to scrap any of the legal rights and funding programmes derived from Britain’s membership of the EU.

It will publish a document setting out the full range of such benefits, saying regional funding is “one of the most directly and imminently under threat from the Tory government”.

It will say: “The Labour Party therefore commits that – as a central plank of our future manifesto and budget plans – we will establish a properly-managed domestic fund for less prosperous regions currently in receipt of EU structural funds, and we will ensure that level of funding is protected in full, into the 2020s and beyond.

“Funding this commitment will be our top priority for allocating the estimated net savings deriving from Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.”

Labour will ‘replace post-Brexit EU funding’ in UK}

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