West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has criticised the British government for not pursuing additional funding for the Rural Development Programme (Pillar 2) after the DARD Minister revealed that their decision would result in a 22% cut to the programme.
Mr. McAleer said,
“In response to a question I put to the Agriculture Minister in the Assembly it was revealed that the British government negotiated a 22% decrease in the EU budget dealing with Rural Development.
“The British government made the decision not to pursue extra funding despite the fact that countries like France successfully applied for an additional one billion euros and the Irish government received an additional 100 million euros.
“This implications in the time ahead are that the forthcoming Rural Development programme will have to be designed around the new lower figure.
“The British government have again failed to realise the issues that effect people in the North by not applying for adequate funding to meet the needs of rural communities.
“This is hugely disproportionate and will make it incredibly challenging to roll out a balanced rural development programme across the island.”