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Government unlawfully withheld EU cash from Liverpool and Sheffield

Liverpool City Region has won the first ever court case against EU funding allocations.

The High Court found that the UK government breached its legal duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity when allocating European Commission funding to Merseyside and South Yorkshire.

Although the funding comes from the European Union, the decision on allocations in the UK is devolved to the UK Government.

According to the government’s own estimate, Merseyside’s share of the funding for 2014-20 should have been around €350m – but the region was only allocated €202m.

The rest of that money was redistributed to Scotland and Northern Ireland, to protect them from being disproportionately affected by funding changes.

Mayor of Liverpool and chair of Liverpool City Region Cabinet, Joe Anderson, said: “This is excellent news for Liverpool City Region. The court has found that the Government has had complete disregard for its legal duty when making its decision. It is well documented that Liverpool is one of the most deprived areas in the country and as part of its process the Government should have fully assessed this to make sure there was no unfair discrimination when making its decision.

“The evidence presented to court shows that, based on the Government’s own figures, ministers decided to allocate €150m less to Liverpool City Region and almost €90m less to South Yorkshire than they themselves had estimated our share of the UK pot to be.

“There is no doubt in my mind that they were guilty of cutting our funding unfairly. In my view this is sheer arrogance and I am pleased our case has been supported in a court of law.

“European funding is meant to tackle economic inequality, yet as the poorest area in the north west we were awarded far less funding per head than the rest of the region including wealthier areas such as Cheshire.

“I have described it previously as Robin Hood in reverse – taking from the poor to give to the rich.”

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