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Norfolk and Suffolk's European Union billions unveiled in new report

PUBLISHED: 17:05 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:05 22 February 2017

FUTURE: A computer generated image of the new rail terminal at the Port of Felixstowe

FUTURE: A computer generated image of the new rail terminal at the Port of Felixstowe

Archant

The European Union has funnelled an average of £135.7m to Norfolk and Suffolk each year since 2007, a new report by the region's business and political leaders has found.

The figure - which includes the value of grants and finance - has been calculated by the East of England European Partnership as local leaders step-up lobbying efforts for regional funding in the government’s post-Brexit plans.

The New Anglia local enterprise partnership said it wanted to examine the potential consequences of any loss of European Union funding after Britain leaves the European Union.

The “EU investment in East Anglia” report calculates that more than £365m of European Union grant funding has been received in Norfolk and Suffolk, with a further £1.54bn of finance coming in through the European Investment Bank over the last 14 years. The study claims this has sparked investment of at least £7.34bn in the two counties in the same period.

Money coming from Brussels has funded infrastructure projects, including for Felixstowe’s rail terminal, an upgrade to the A14 and finance for the region’s new train rolling stock.

In 2015 the UK government paid £13bn to the EU budget, and EU spending on the UK was £4.5bn, meaning the UK made a net contribution of about £8.5bn. But reports suggest Britain could still be liable for up to 60 billion euros (£51bn) as it begins to cut its ties with the European Union.

The government has indicated that European funding currently available to Norfolk and Suffolk will be maintained until Britain leaves - but it is not yet clear how it will be replaced.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said the report meant they were now well-informed to be able to look at where funding of equivalent value might come from in future.

While Jonathan Millins, head of the East of England European Partnership, said: “The report provides businesses, universities, councils and the voluntary sector with a strong evidence base on which to be able to discuss with Government the future of funding for vital growth promoting projects post-Brexit.” He said they were working to ensure a “fair deal” from Brexit negotiations.

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