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Devon bids for fair EU funding

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

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London Editor

David Cameron has been urged to back proposals for extra Brussels cash to boost the Devon economy.

MPs yesterday delivered a letter to Downing Street amid concern the county has long missed out on regeneration aid compared to neighbouring Cornwall.

They want the Government to get behind plans to set up a series of "transition zones" where money is poured into EU regions in economic need, with Devon and adjacent Somerset likely to qualify.

Nine Westcountry MPs – Ben Bradshaw (Lab, Exeter), Geoffrey Cox (Con, Torridge and West Devon), Nick Harvey (Lib Dem, North Devon), Anne Marie Morris (Con, Newton Abbot), Tessa Munt (Lib Dem, Wells), Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem, Torbay), Neil Parish (Con, Tiverton and Honiton), Alison Seabeck (Lab, Plymouth Moor View) and Sarah Wollaston (Con, Totnes) – have signed the missive.

If approved, "transition zone" funding could be worth around £2.6 billion to the UK.

Mr Harvey said: "Transition funding would give a huge boost to economic growth in Devon and Somerset, where eight of our constituencies are now in the bottom 15% for lowest wages in Britain compared to three Cornish constituencies."

Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: "The Prime Minister currently has a real problem with a stagnant economy and needs to recognise the growth a 'transition zone' for Devon would bring."

The plan is being championed by the Heart of the South West body, which is charged with boosting jobs in Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset.

The EU has pumped more than £1 billion into Cornwall in the last decade.

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