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London could get less funding from Government after Brexit

London could get less funding from Government after Brexit

London could get less funding after Britain leaves the European Union (EU) if the Government does not prioritise the “economic engine” of the capital, a business leader has warned.

Simon Pitkeathley, champion for small business at the London Local Enterprise Partnership (LEAP), said anti-London sentiment could mean more funding goes to other regions after Brexit.

London currently receives £1.4 billion through the European Structural and Investment Funds, with 60 per cent coming from the EU and 40 per cent from central or local government and private investment.

The money – overseen by LEAP – is used to support small businesses, provide training, and create new jobs in the capital.

While Government has guaranteed the current round of funding, which runs until 2023, it will then transition to its own UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

But Mr Pitkeathley said that though the new fund would provide the same amount of money as the UK received from the EU, London could end up with a smaller share.

Speaking at the London Assembly’s EU Exit Working Group on Thursday, he said: “If you think about the current political narrative, London is not popular, let’s be honest. Everyone hates us, we don’t care.”

London did not receive any money through the Government’s £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund launched earlier this year, which Mr Pitkeathley said was “not a good indicator” for a future funding settlement.

He said: “We have to keep making sure that the value London provides to the rest of the UK economy is constantly in Government’s mind.

“If we don’t get our fair share of that it’s not just London that suffers.

“Whatever your view about Brexit the concern here is not whether Government replaces EU money with an equivalent amount overall – it’s how that’s dispersed, and how London fares.”

Labour’s Len Duvall, who chairs the EU Exit Working Group, said assembly members needed to “battle together” with business, the Mayor and London MPs to ensure the city did not “loose by default” in a future settlement.

A spokesperson for the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We want every part of our country to benefit from the opportunities of Brexit on 31 October - including the capital – and our guarantee for EU-funded programmes gives certainty to UK organisations receiving funding.

“In addition we’ve announced £3.6 billion to fund local growth, which will bring benefits across London, including Tottenham High Road, Sutton, the Old Kent Road, Woolwich and Putney town centres as well as Wealdstone.”

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