MEP Backs South Of Scotland Funding Campaign

30 January 2006

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith has called for the South of Scotland to be reclassified as a distinct region, in order to obtainadditional EU funds. Mr Smith has responded to a consultation by the Office of National Statistics on future boundaries for EU funding from 2013. However he has called for changes to the South of Scotland to be brought inearlier in order to give the region the full funding it should beentitled too.

Commenting on the issue Mr Smith said

"It is very important for the South of Scotland that these boundariesare changed. The area does not get the full funding it should beentitled too as the real GDP and the rural nature of the area arehidden by including the Borders with Edinburgh and Dumfries andGalloway with Glasgow. This has to change.

"This consultation was done very quietly and I was only made aware of it recently. The South of Scotland Alliance has been making this case for several years now and neither the Scottish Executive or the UK government have taken any action to support their case for an immediate change of designation.

"The Highlands and Islands benefit from their status as a region, the South of Scotland should be able to do the same. It could bringsignificant financial benefit to the area, allowing them to build onthe already innovative projects, such as the Seven Stanes mountain bike project, Barony College and the Broadband Pathfinder project.

"I want to see these and other projects continue, and I believe thebest way to do so is to create a distinct funding region for theSouth of Scotland."

Note to Editors:

The South of scotland is currently considered to be a region only for European Objective 2 funding. For Objective 1 or cohesion fundingthe Borders is part of the East of Scotland (along with Edinburgh and Dundee) while Dumfries and Galloway forms part of the West of Scotland (along with Glasgow). The GDP of the South of Scotland is currently lower than that of the Highlands and Islands and would entitle the area to Cohesion funding.