Plans set out to limit Brexit effect

Mayor Joe Anderson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Mayor Joe Anderson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Plans to limit the effect of Brexit on St Helens have been revealed.

Mayor Joe Anderson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, has spoken about how the vote to leave EU is likely to affect the regions, which includes St Helens and what he plans to do to minimise the impact.

Fears have previously been raised by St Helens Council leader Barrie Grunewald that European grants, which have boosted the borough’s economy over the years, will not be replaced by central Government once EU funding dries up.

Mayor Anderson said: “The referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has created a great deal of uncertainty about how our City Region responds to the challenges created by the result.

“Whether you voted Leave or Remain, it is clear that there will be a significant impact in our neighbourhoods.

“For example, the City Region was due to benefit from a commitment of over £200m of EU Structural Funds over the next few years while many organisations would also have been bidding for other EU programmes such as those for connectivity and innovation. These monies fund valuable job creating projects in the City Region and when combined with other sources mean that over £400m of investment is potentially at risk.

“Also at risk is our economy, with our businesses, especially those connected to our maritime industries, trying to work out how this vote will affect them.

“One direct impact will be the approximately 2,100 jobs that would have been created, over 2,100 new business startups, over 6,700 business assists and over 57,000 people who would have been assisted in total by the Structural Funds programme.

“The Liverpool City Region cannot afford to wait three months for the stability that a new Prime Minister should bring, so we are determined to provide it ourselves.

“I am starting a programme of post-referendum summits which will bring together the key stakeholders from the business, civic and political communities. “This is so we can make our own assessment of how the referendum will affect us, how we can agree to respond in unison and put in place actions to support each other.

“For example, we will meet with Government and call on them to commit to replace EU funding and meet their obligations towards our Devolution Deal and devolve the funds to the City Region level.

“But I also intend to open up our own lines of communication with Brussels, working with our MEPs to set up meetings and do everything I can to shape whatever transitional arrangements there may be to maximise the benefit for our Liverpool City Region.”