Leaving the EU would let Britain put a game-changing level of investment into the Northern Powerhouse, a regional MEP is urging.
Amjad Bashir, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, said not paying into the EU would free vast sums of public money which could be diverted to supercharge the North of England’s vital transport and communication projects.
He pointed to the £19.6 billion paid into the EU budget by the UK last year. Even after the money Britain got back in grants and subsidies
was discounted, there would still be a massive £10 billion extra left for potential rail, road and technological investment.
Mr Bashir said: “That is a huge sum. It dwarfs the current level of investment in the Northern Powerhouse and could prove truly
transformational if it were applied to the right projects.
“If our own Government regained proper control of that war chest, it could really press ahead with the Powerhouse project at the speed we would all wish.
“I am a strong supporter of the Northern Powerhouse concept, but its early impact will be limited by the level of investment we can afford in these times of austerity. By my reckoning the total cost of directly-funded Government investments specified in the Department for Transport’s Northern Powerhouse policy document is less than £450m.
“How much better then to keep the money we send to Europe to be used where it will make a real difference. I am not saying the whole pot of money freed up would go to the Powerhouse – but I believe a very substantial amount of it could and should be.
“If we really want a game-changing level of investment – to get those road and rail improvements in place before time slips away – this is what is needed.”