MEP on loss of EU assistance to south of Scotland

11 July 2006
Scottish National Party MEP and European spokesman Alyn Smith has today expressed his disappointment that the South of Scotland has been excluded from UK government proposals for distributing regional assistance.

Speaking from Edinburgh Mr Smith said

"This will be disappointing for the people at Scottish Enterprise Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, the South of Scotland Alliance and all those who have done such a good job of using Regional Assistance in the past to bring jobs and industry to the South of Scotland.

"Alongside the failure of the UK government to argue for the South of Scotland to be classed as a unique area for EU regional funding this is another sign of the failure of those in London to understand the needs of the area, and the failure of Ministers in Edinburgh to make the case properly.

"I have consistently supported the South of Scotland Alliance in making their case for re-designation of EU boundaries and consideration of the South of Scotland as an area in it's own right. I am disappointed no one in government appears to be joining me.

"What is needed now for the South of Scotland is the ability to compete economically with other areas not just of Scotland or the UK, but in Europe and for that we need additional powers.

"There is still the possibility that some regional funding will head to the area, rather than regional assistance money and that must be used to improve infrastructure and services so the South of Scotland can build on its many attractions to become the obvious choice for business."