Hartlepool has received Â£7million in European funding
Hartlepool has received more than Â£7million in European funding, according to an organisation campaigning for Britain to remain part of the EU.
The Britain Stronger in Europe group says leaving the union would cause “huge economic damage”.
Between 2007 and 2013, Hartlepool received £7.4million from the European Regional Development Fund, and the European Social Fund.
Britain Stronger in Europe says the money supports regional development, businesses investment, creates job opportunities, improves prospects for young people through apprenticeships and higher education, and supports agriculture.
Jessie Jacobs, North East field director for Britain Stronger in Europe, said: “Being a member of Europe’s free trade single market brings jobs, low prices and investment to the UK. Part of that investment is from Europe directly. We get a fantastic return from our membership.
“This research shows how European investment benefits Hartlepool directly. Funding to cover jobs, skills and local infrastructure is essential and would be lost if we were to leave Europe. There would be huge economic damage if we left, and the Government would not be able to guarantee these funds would be available.”
The Hartlepool funding has included £1.39million to Hartlepool Borough Council to support young people not in education, employment or training to improve their job chances.
The council has also received £1.25million in community grants and £400,000 to the Hartlepool Enterprise Growth Hub. Hartlepool College of Further Education has also benefited from £204,730 to providing vocational training to people in custody.
The North East has received more than £494million in European funding, and is said to be in line for a further £596million up to 2020.
But UKIP Hartlepool chairman John Tenant said the funding is Britain’s money in the first place, but with strings attached. He said leaving the EU would save Britain £55million a day which it could decide how to spend. “Hartlepool would actually have greater autonomy to spend where it sees fit.
“That is why we are stronger out of the EU,” he said.
He added: “Britain Stronger in Europe is trying to pull to wool over our eyes. Why apply for £7million of funding when we spend £55million a day? Let’s not be part of a club that seeks to control our towns and cities – rather, let’s govern ourselves.”
Mr Tenant said membership of the EU has driven wages down due to an oversupply of low-skilled labour.