How might Brexit affect investment in our area?

BRITAIN is six months away from leaving the EU with the Brexit date set for March 29.

And with little certainty about what the consequences will be it is understandable that many are apprehensive about how some of the changes could hit their hometowns.

Assurances are being made that Brexit will not see investment funding dry up

Assurances are being made that Brexit will not see investment funding dry up

Several concerns for how the separation could affect Portsmouth have been raised again and again by politicians and businesses alike, with many citing the city's port and shipping industry as a source of worry.

But what could it mean for the rest of the city and its surrounding towns?

A new publicly-accessible database, known as myEU, has laid bare the financial impact breaking from the EU could have in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant with a record of grants and investments made by the EU over the years.

Data has shown that the region, based on council boundaries, has been awarded a total of £154,977,908 over the years, with the cash divided between various organisations, including councils, research facilities, universities, hospices and engineering firms.

Cllr Sean Woodward

Cllr Sean Woodward

The grants make up part of the EU's average annual spend in the UK which is £5 billion. But in comparison the UK had been investing an average of £15 billion into the trade and political union every year.

Within Portsmouth the largest portion of EU money was revealed to be spent at the University of Portsmouth, accounting for £11m of the £13m given to the city.

A spokesperson for the university said:  'The largest portion of the £11m cited has come from tuition fees.

'UK universities, along with the majority of universities across the EU, have been awarded EU funding for research.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan

'It is too soon to be able to say what the Brexit negotiations might mean for students and funding from the EU, but the University of Portsmouth is confident that whatever the outcome, its judicial investments and planning will safeguard continuing world-class research and a thriving and vibrant university culture.'

Around £1.1m of funds was attributed to Portsmouth City Council although when broken down it was shown that these went through the council to support outside research programmes focusing on marine science as well as improving transport links.

A spokesperson for the council said: 'The funding mentioned has not been for Portsmouth City Council however, the authority welcomes any funding which supports regeneration and the regional economic plan.'

Fareham was benefitted from the biggest lump of EU cash - £133,992,400 in total. Most of this, £132.5m, has been given to the NATS air traffic control centre in Whiteley.

A spokesperson from NATS explained the company's link with the EU. They said: 'The Single European Sky project is designed to improve the efficiency of air travel across Europe. As part of that, the European Commission awards funding to various air traffic service providers, including NATS, to lead and deliver elements of that work.

'NATS remains committed to playing a full role in the Single European Sky project whatever the outcome of the current Brexit negotiations.

'Our continued participation is the right thing to do for our customers, the flying public and the wider economy.'

Fareham Borough Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, added: 'I have no doubt that Fareham has in some respects benefited from investment made by the EU.

'It is important however to bear in mind that the EU decisions on spending are not made in the UK therefore the spend, of our money, does not always reflect this country's priorities. 

'I have no doubt that after we exit the EU there will still be very significant investments but they will accord with UK, not EU priorities.'

To find out more about how much the EU has invested in your area visit myeu.uk

‘We won’t let Brexit drag us down’

Labour MPs have been in talks over what Brexit could mean for Portsmouth.

Portsmouth South representative and councillor Stephen Morgan met with shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, recently in a bid to secure European investment for the city in the future.

Mr Morgan said: 'Our city has benefitted greatly from EU membership in terms of direct investment over the years. The EU has put money into Portsmouth when our own Tory government has failed to. It’s vital that we avoid a Brexit black-hole in our cultural and educational assets.

‘I brought down from parliament the shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer MP, and held discussions with a number of local businesses and organisations to hear concerns in our city over a ‘no-deal’ scenario. The Tories appear willing to jettison significant European investment in our city for the sake of appeasing Boris’ band of hard-Brexiteers and without any detail on plans to replace it.

'I will continue to meet with local groups and organisations to hear views and ensure the prime minister doesn’t drag Portsmouth off a Brexit cliff edge.'

EU funding by numbers

PORTSMOUTH

EU funding:

£13,470,814

Remain: 41.9%

Leave: 58.1%

Turnout: 70.4%

Valid votes: 98,720

FAREHAM

EU funding:

£133,992,400

Remain: 44.9%

Leave: 55%

Turnout: 79.6%

Valid votes: 71,735

GOSPORT

EU funding:

£1,059,099

Remain: 36.1%

Leave: 63.8%

Turnout: 73.6%

Valid votes: 46,127

HAVANT

EU funding:

£6,455,595

Remain: 37.6%

Leave: 62.3%

Turnout: 74.2%

Valid votes: 70,629

EU funding for Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant combined:  £154,977,908

Votes in total across the UK:

Remain:

16,141,241

(48.1%)

Leave:

17,410,742

(51.9%)