High Court rules European funding settlement for South Yorkshire is unlawful

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP

An MP is calling for a Parliamentary debate after a high court ruled a European funding settlement for South Yorkshire was unlawful.

Last year, the government announced EU funding for Sheffield City Region for 2014-2020 would be €203m – much less than other, richer areas, and a worse than expected cut of 61 per cent compared to the last six years.

For months Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey and Yorkshire MEP Linda McAvan have been fighting for a fair settlement and arguing against South Yorkshire’s money being used to ‘top up’ Scotland’s stronger economy.

On Friday the High Court quashed Ministers’ decisions on the funding after ruling they were unlawful.

The judgement also confirms that the government’s own estimate of the funding for South Yorkshire is €58m less than the European Commission’s policy intended.

Now Mr Healey is demanding a meeting with Business Secretary Vince Cable and has applied for a Parliamentary debate later this month.

The MP said: “The government have proposed cutbacks in European funding much more severe even than our worst fears, and massively deeper than in any other area in the UK.

“The high court has now told the government to rethink the decisions they have taken on this money, which is crucial to helping our economy reach its potential.

“I want to ensure any new decisions stop discrimination against our region, so have requested an urgent meeting to discuss the court’s judgement and put the case for a fair settlement to support jobs and stronger growth in South Yorkshire.”

Ms McAvan joined Mr Healey in meeting Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for the Regions, in Brussels in July last year.

She said: “The European Union has identified South Yorkshire as having fallen behind other UK regions and so should have been entitled to a greater share of EU funding.

“It is an outrage that areas of the UK with more wealth and more business are getting a bigger share than we are and I am delighted that the judge has sent the Government back to the drawing board on allocating the EU funding fairly.”