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Why are we Shooting Ourselves in the Foot?

You may not know it, but 9 out of 10 poorest regions in the Northern EU are in the UK. They are, Cornwall, Durham & Tees Valley, Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, Lancashire, Northern Ireland, East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire, West Wales. Here they are compared with the richest regions. Only London is among these. You’ll find the graphic here: Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

Poorest Regions in EUAll of these regions receive funds from the European Regional Development Fund, funding that is based upon need, not politics. Here are some details that you can explore for yourself.


Across England, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investments have:

  • helped 24,767 new businesses to start or move into the local areas
  • created around 114,889 jobs for local people

(Figures correct at January 2016)

Projects funded by ERDF

The documents below provide a full list of all the projects funded by ERDF in England.

[The London ERDF programme is administered by the Greater London Authority (GLA). Details of ERDF London-funded projects are available on the GLA website.]

London, which voted Remain, has the greatest number of foreigners and EU migrants, while many of the areas voting leave have very few immigrants. London, with 1/6 of the UK’s population pays 1/3 of all UK taxes. So it is highly likely that alongside the European Union, London is paying towards your region, particularly in areas that are funded nationally.

For many people this is an uncomfortable reality. It flies in the face of feeling independent, capable and able to sustain ourselves. This is a tremendously important feeling in an individualistic age. So, how can a region retain its sense of potency?

Across much of England, the industrial age is on its last legs. Huge numbers of industries, factories and occupations are dying. Take mining: this graphic gives a picture of the decline in numbers of miners:

Death of MiningIt’s pretty staggering.

Moreover, many of the old industries, mining, ship-building, steel-making, had within them the gift of a sense of heroic work for men. Work that literally took the land and sea and shaped them to heat our homes, build our towns or carry us on our travels.

So not only did men lose their means to pay their way, their physical livelihood, they saw their potency diminished too, heroic labour which built comradeship, fortitude and solidarity faded from the daily workplace. To be replaced by call-centres or if you were lucky a more masculine job, albeit on a largely automated production line.

I am sad about the loss of these sources of heroism and dignity too. But I suspect we cannot bring it back. And that a large part of each one of us, would not truly welcome a return to the pit or the pick. Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump may be unable to rebuild the jobs as he’s promised in the Rust-Belt, unless American workers are prepared to work for substantially lower wages or American consumers are willing to accept substantially higher prices.

It is as it is.

We are shooting ourselves in the foot because the ERDF pays £2.6 BILLIONS, annually to help poorer areas of the UK to create jobs, civic amenities and rebuild their communities. That money will go. The Tories will not replace it, as Cornwall has already discovered to its cost (from £60M per annum from the EU to £6M p.a. from the Tories).

Among other reasons, this is why the Government won’t cost and publish the impact of Brexit. You would not stand for it. If you don’t believe me, think back over the past 40 years, how much have Conservative Governments done for your area? Apart from Maggie’s housing sell-off, which has led to today’s housing shortage, what have they done? They cut your Health budgets, your Schools budgets, your Welfare budgets, the value of every £ in your pocket and they refuse to increase taxes on the rich – either at the corporate or individual level.

Wake up! Why don’t you insist on seeing the projections and forecasts? It may well be that the best you’ll get is a plastic flag and a chance to cheer Theresa May, herself a multi-millionaire.


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As a psychologist, psychotherapist and research practitioner of 40 years, I've had the benefit of the experiences of more than 100,000 people around the world. They've talked about their daily lives, hopes, fears, ambitions and needs. These experiences have helped me to contribute to innovations from Beds in Business and the Fast Track for airlines to television drama and online communities. Specialties:Large groups, facilitation, application of psychological theories to commercial issues