The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, today called on voters in the North of England to back a Labour Remain vote and reject a Tory Brexit so that it can unlock to over £8 billion of potential further investment for the entire region through our continued membership of the European Union.
Speaking at Manchester Metropolitan University alongside former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, John McDonnell MP, called on the Government to work to ensure that the UK receives its fair share of funding.
At present, Britain receives less than the per capita EU average in funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) due to Tory cuts and changes to the regional infrastructure required to make successful funding bids in England, which have weakened its effectiveness compared to the devolved administrations.
Under the ‘Juncker Plan’, the EIB is set to increase infrastructure and investment spending across Europe by 320 billion. The UK’s current share of the EIB’s capital is 16 per cent, so if the UK was able to raise a fair share of the additional investment also to 16 per cent then this would work out to £35 billion for the UK by 2019/20.
For the North of England, the total extra funding boost would be £8.3bn. This would be enough to finance the proposed High Speed 3 and help make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:
“There are opportunities for Britain inside the EU to improve the lives of working people across the North of our country.
“The Tories sell all of us short by not taking them up.
“And a Tory Brexit would close the door to the vital infrastructure investment our industrial heartlands desperately need.
“Britain has a 16 per cent share in the European Investment Bank, but receives only 11 per cent of funding.
“If we just took our fair share that would be an extra £35billion of investment.
“That’s the same as a whole year of public investment under George Osborne.
“It’s money that could transform the parts of our country hardest hit by Tory austerity.
“It could mean funding High Speed 3 and overhauling public transport here in the North.
“We could unlock that £79 billion potential of the North of England, helping create hundreds of thousands high-quality, well-paid jobs over the next decade.
“Under the Tories today, that £35 billion is extra money we’re leaving on the table.
“Under a Tory Brexit, we’d be walking away from the entire pot.
“With this additional funding, we could help deliver the investment-led recovery our country needs.
“But neither wing of the Tory Party will fight for it.
“They’re the party of corporate elite, and the CEOs who prefer to award themselves fat pay cheques instead of investing in British industry.
“By voting for a Labour Remain vote and rejecting Tory Brexit next week the North of England will be sending a clear message to the same Tory elites on both sides of the referendum campaign, who both have a track record of undermining the north.”