Sinn Féin MLA and finance minister Conor Murphy has slammed the Tory government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, which falls short of the funding previously provided by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Conor Murphy said:
“The British government promised, at a minimum, to replace EU funding in full. However, the Shared Prosperity Fund only provides £123m and £21.6m is earmarked for the British Government’s Multiply scheme which is not replacing ESF or ERDF funding. This means the Executive is over £90m short of the £195m we received when we were in the EU.”
Conor Murphy continued:
“Whereas the Executive controlled funding previously provided by the EU, the Shared Prosperity Fund is controlled by the British government. The Executive, and the governments in Scotland and Wales, have been completely sidelined.
“The purpose of the proposed Joint Ministerial Group is to create the false impression that we are being listened to, whereas in fact our views on the design and delivery of the fund have been ignored throughout this process.
“I will not give credibility to the British government’s pretence and so I will not be participating in the consultative group.
“The funding previously provided by the EU for these programmes was vital. The ERDF funds the growth of small businesses and the transition to a zero carbon economy.
“The ESF funded employability programmes which help young people and people with disabilities to get back into work. With many industries struggling to recruit people with the right skills the loss of this funding couldn’t come at a worse time.
“Today’s announcement confirms how damaging Brexit is for our economy, for our society, and for our environment.”