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Tim Farron, on 3rd visit to Newcastle in 9 months, shows how region is Stronger in Europe

March 31, 2016 5:24 PM

"EU funding plays a vital role as a catalyst for the economic growth and rebalancing that is fundamental to the long term prosperity of the North East," the Liberal Democrat leader says. He is "gravely concerned" about what Brexit means for the North East and call on people to back a Remain vote at June 23's EU Referendum

"European funds have supported major projects like the Tyne and Wear Metro, the regeneration of the Quayside, and even the Angel of the North. It has funded thousands of high-level skills training and postgraduate places at the University of Teesside and the region's other universities, as well as high-tech research and development and business growth projects like Digital City, County Durham's NetPark and the Centre for Process Innovation in the Tees Valley.

"Taking away this vital funding stream would be hugely damaging to the vital work of creating a successful, connected 21st Century economy in the North East. I am gravely concerned that the economic future of this region would be very hard-hit by a vote to leave."

The North East has received over £494m in European funding during the 2007 to 2013 funding cycle alone and will receive a further £596m up to 2020 (examples below).

Jessie Joe Jacobs, North East field director for Britain Stronger In Europe, said: "The sad thing for the North East is that people are being misled by the Out campaigns into thinking leaving the EU will make their lives better.

"The benefits of staying in Europe by far outweigh the costs. For every £1 we put in we get almost £10 back, and the EU funding we have already received has had a far-reaching and positive impact across the region.

"More than 100,000 North East jobs rely on our trade with the EU and it is a fact that Brexit would leave the North East - the only UK region with a positive balance of trade - more exposed to the risks. It makes absolutely no sense for us to turn our back on the world's largest trading bloc.

"Good jobs, good wages, safety, security and strong relationships with our partners - these are the things that make people's lives better in the North East and they have been secured over 40 years of membership of the EU."

EU money has been used to fund projects that have created thousands of jobs across the region:


  • Portobello Trade Park in Durham was financed with £2.7m in ERDF funding
  • Consett Business Park in Durham received £1.1m in ERDF funding
  • Durham County Council receives 25,000 EUR each year for communications work


  • The regeneration of a 660-hectare area on the River Tyne North Bank benefitted from £2.4m in ERDF funding
  • The Core Science Central in Newcastle city centre was built with the support of £5.6m in ERDF funding
  • The refurbishment of Newcastle's Toffee Factory received £2.8m in ERDF support funding


  • The Institute of Digital Innovation (DigitalCity) in Middlesbrough was funded with £1.9m by the ERDF
  • Redcar Business Space in Middlesbrough and East Cleveland received £1m in ERDF funding


  • Northshore Innovation Centre in Stockton North received £2.9m in ERDF funding
  • Digital City Stockton received £510,000 in ERDF funding
  • Stockton Riverside College received £284,375 from the EU to help with support programmes for learners with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties


  • Sunderland Software Centre received £4.4m in ERDF funding
  • Washington Business Centre, run by Sunderland City Council, received £3.4m in ERDF funding
  • The University of Sunderland got £1.3m from the EU to help graduates find internships and placements in local small and medium sized businesses


  • The River Tyne Energy and Innovation Centre has received £1m in ERDF funding
  • The EU has given £7.8m to fund a low carbon enterprise zone for businesses to settle at Swan Hunter Ship Yard in North Tyneside.
  • Tyne and Wear Metro's Simonside station opened in 2008 and cost £3.2 million. It was part funded by the ERDF