WATCH: "We Want Our Country Back"

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Lib Dem MEPs lobby for fair distribution of EU funding

Lib Dem MEPs have welcomed the Coalition Government's commitment to ensure that cuts to European funding from 2014 onwards will be shared in a fair manner across the UK.

The Coalition Government has announced England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be subjected to an equal percentage cut of around 5 per cent compared to the current 2007-2017 EU funding levels.

MEPs and national governments are currently negotiating the next long-term EU budget for 2014-2020. Although a final deal has yet to be reached, the EU's budget is expected to be cut in real-terms for the first time in its history.

The leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European Parliament, North East MEP Fiona Hall, said: "Lib Dem MEPs are lobbying our business and treasury ministers to ensure that the UK will put in place a fair system of allocating future EU regional funding across the UK, and also across England's regions. We must use EU funds effectively to help close the economic north-south divide."

South East Lib Dem MEP, Catherine Bearder, the party's European regional spokesperson, commented: "I asked the EU's Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn to ensure that Member States are given the flexibility to spend regional EU funds in less developed and sparsely populated regions to help create jobs and stimulate sustainable growth."

Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire & The Humber, Edward McMillan-Scott, a Vice-President of the European Parliament, added: "It is vital that northern regions like my own are not disproportionately affected in an EU funding settlement over those regions closer to the M25. Countless examples exist in Yorkshire of the beneficial impact vital EU funding has in creating jobs and supporting research. Competition for this funding is always fierce between the UK's regions but this is about making sure that northern regions get their fair slice of EU funding going forward."

The estimated total allocation of EU regional funding for England is €6.174 billion for the period between 2014 and 2020. A breakdown of estimated allocations across Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas is expected to be announced shortly.

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