Draft Rural Development figures paint a bleak picture for 6 counties
Martina Anderson MEP has expressed concern over the future of rural development funding in the north, following the circulation of draft EU budget proposals the Sinn Féin MEP said
"The draft figures released by the commission show that the British government has agreed to a huge reduction of 22% in real terms, the biggest reduction any member state will experience. Those trying to spin it will say that the percentage allocation has remained more or less the same however, when we look at the figures the huge reduction we will experience is obvious.
"The reason for this is the consistent lack of will from the British government to contribute match funding for rural development. This failure to fight for a larger allocation is demonstrative of the budget-cut driven ethos of the current British government and will mean big losses for all those who rely on rural development funds.
"This will have devastating impacts for communities in the north who have relied on this funding to modernise and ensure their future. In fact many were hoping for a bigger allocation given that there was a strong case to be made for a bigger allocation, especially considering the continuing austerity measures advocated by the EU and heads of national governments.
"The devolved administration in the north received no forewarning or communication regarding these drastic cuts.
"I have fought against budgetary austerity both in the Assembly and in the European Parliament and yet many heads of state in Europe refuse to see another path.
"These are only draft figures, and I sincerely hope to see a shift in thinking before the final allocation is decided, however given the late stage in the negotiations, this is unlikely.”