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Action needed to prevent delay in millions of EU funding for the South East

The EU must take action to prevent a delay in millions of pounds worth of European funding for the South East, Liberal Democrat Euro MP Catherine Bearder has warned in a debate in the European Parliament.

key_money.pngLocal Economic Partnerships, which combine public and private institutions, will be given European funding but were asked to draw up detailed strategies outlining how they will spend it.

The seven LEPs which cover the South East region have been awarded more than £315 million for the period 2014-2020, but lack of progress on discussions between the UK government and the European Commission could result in the region being out of pocket for six months or more.

Mrs Bearder is contacting officials in the UK government and Commission to ensure that local projects can get up and running as soon as the funding programmes are agreed, even if they are not yet formally adopted.

In the past European funding has proved a lifeline for vital projects such as Kent County Council's initiative, Low Carbon Plus, which has been granted more than £1 million to help small businesses in the county expand and create jobs in the green economy and Southampton City Council's project, CRUMBS, which was awarded more than £300,000 to work with local businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and to reduce food poverty.

South East Euro-MP, Catherine Bearder, commented: "European Funding plays a vital role in boosting innovation, creating jobs and fuelling the economic recovery in the South East.

"A delay in funding could put on hold valuable projects in the area that will promote jobs, infrastructure and training for young people.

"I'm putting pressure on the Commission and UK government to speed up the process to ensure local projects get off the ground as soon as possible."

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