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Friday, 5 September 2014

'Brexit' - could the UK government afford to keep West Country fishermen and farmers in the manner to which they have become accustomed?



The Government has to ensure Cornwall is not “crippled” if the UK leaves the European Union and loses much-needed subsidy, a leading think-tank has warned. Civitas, a cross-party group, argues the British government should guarantee any Brussels hand-outs are matched from Whitehall in the event of the so-called “Brexit”.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly receive hundreds of millions of pounds of Brussels regeneration money as it remains one of the poorest regions in Europe. But the area, in common with Devon, has a high number of farmers and fishermen who also receive substantial subsidies.

Related content David Cameron makes new election pledge on EU referendum For democracy’s sake, call a referendum on EU future Jonathan Lindsell, author of the Civitas report “Softening the Blow: Who gains from the EU and how they can survive ‘Brexit’”, has warned of the “devastating” impact to areas and industries that rely on the hand-outs.

Mr Lindsell, who argues Whitehall needs to plan ahead if Britain votes to leave the EU in David Cameron’s promised 2017 “in-out” referendum, told the Western Morning News: “Cornwall is a major beneficiary of EU spending so if Britain were to leave then the Treasury would have to take great care in ensuring its local economy was not crippled as a result".

“Not only do Cornwall’s many farmers and fishermen benefit from the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy respectively, but the county receives tens of millions of pounds a year in structural and convergence funds to support local economic growth and communities. “In the 2014-2020 budget, Cornwall has been allocated 592 million euros from the convergence fund to assist with further development. If Britain leaves the EU before 2020 the government should seriously consider keeping this fund up.”

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