North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has hit out after DUP MEP Diane Dodds highlighted the fact that Northern Ireland is losing out on millions of extra pounds in structural funds.
Speaking after Diane Dodds MEP highlighted the findings of the Open Europe report Mr Storey said:
“Between 2007 and 2013, the UK will pay in around £30bn to the EU’s so-called structural and cohesion funds. However we will only receive back just under £9bn.
“It seems clear from this that even though Northern Ireland does benefit from significant structural funds from the EU, the fact remains that we pay in much more than we actually receive back.
“Indeed it has now been calculated that for every £1 we get back in structural funds, we actually pay in £1.58. “Whatever one’s political stance most people will agree that that is not a beneficial financial balance between what is paid out and what is received in return.
“The UK government ought to look very carefully at these figures.
“This is another very strong argument for a re-setting of the UK’s relationship with the EU. Certainly we should begin by addressing the clear lack of benefit and very cost of not taking this policy area back and ring fencing the money that we are pouring into the EU for significantly less return.
“Such a move could see Northern Ireland benefit to the tune of a 45% increase is subsidies received over a period of seven years.”
“The government has talked much about re-looking at our relationship with the EU. Here is a good place to begin.”