Labour MEPs, including Clare Moody, today called on the UK government to cooperate with the European Commission to release EU funding for England immediately, following a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu.
Speaking from the European Parliament, Clare said:
"The meeting with Commissioner Cretu was extremely valuable.
"We were able to discuss in detail the problems associated with the release of vital EU funds. The amateur approach of the UK Government to negotiations with the Commission has caused significant delay to that release. In recent weeks, both the Tories and Lib Dems have wrongly tried to blame the EU but it is now fundamentally clear that any delay is due to the incompetence of UK Government ministers - proved by the fact that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were able to agree their Operational Plans last year.
"I expressed to the Commissioner my deep concern that the delay may have already irrevocably slowed the pace of economic development in Cornwall, and that some say it could set development back by a full 12 months; some of those companies reliant upon EU funding have already issued redundancy notices and that our greatest fear, that those individuals with the skills and expertise so integral to making the best use of this support will leave the county, may already have been realised.
“My colleagues and I impressed upon Ms Cretu Labour's desire to speed up the process, to ensure these funds can be released as soon as possible.
"The Commissioner was clear in her response: it remains for the UK Government to demonstrate they can manage the funds properly and show they will work with local stakeholders to deliver projects.
"I will continue to do all I can to keep the pressure up on the Tories and LibDems to finally deliver for the people of Cornwall."