Making social science accessible

25 May 2016

UK regions and European structural and investment funds

In advance of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU), this brief considers the distribution of EU ‘structural and investment funds’to the UK’s constituent regions and nations. The regional dimension of the UK/EU relationship has received relatively little attention in the public debate around the implications of ‘Brexit’ with much of the attention focusing on whether the UK as a whole will be ‘better off’ or ‘worse off’ as a result of voting to exit or remain within the EU. Further, whilst the UK’s financial contribution to the EU has been widely debated there has been considerably less attention on the funding that the UK receives from the EU, and how that funding is distributed. Analysis of the regional distribution of EU structural and investment funds suggests that the possible implications of Brexit would vary across the UK’s constituent regions and nations, which experience significantly different economic and social inequalities and have a high degree of variation in their economic performance. The brief highlights a series of key questions relating to the future of European structural and investment funds that require examination in advance of the referendum, and that policymakers would need to swiftly address should the UK vote to leave the
European Union on June 23.

Research and writing by Tom Hunt, Scott Lavery, Will Vittery and Dr Craig Berry



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