Regional policy launched
Issued on behalf of The Highlands & Islands European Partnership
The Highlands & Islands European Partnership (HIEP) has launched a position paper on Regional Policy.
After exiting the EU, UK regions will no longer be able to access EU structural funds. A new Regional Policy is therefore required for the UK as a replacement and to help maximise the economic potential of our regions. The Highlands and Islands European Partnership (HIEP) recognises the importance and value of effective Regional Policy and seeks a future Regional Policy that is:
• Nationally aligned and regionally responsive, focusing on regional competitiveness and socioeconomic inclusion
• Long term and strategic in nature, with resources commensurate with the scale of challenge and opportunity
• Regionally flexible, driven by the involvement of local partners in development, delivery and evaluation
• Aligned with wider delivery mechanisms and, in particular, UK / Scottish Rural Policy
The published document recognises that the European Union’s Regional Policy had been a significant driver in transforming the economic and social wellbeing of the Highlands & Islands.
The Chair of HIEP, Highland Councillor Jimmy Gray said: “In the past three decades, EU Regional Policy has transformed our economic and social well-being. It has enabled investment in transport and broadband connectivity, business growth, community development, research capacity and skills, helping to develop the region’s first university. It has delivering population growth and business success, encouraging vibrant communities and enabling the Highlands and Islands to make its contribution to wider prosperity in Scotland and the UK.
“With the UK now leaving the EU a new Regional Policy, that recognises our challenges but looks at the fresh opportunities, is essential if the Highlands & Islands is to continue to contribute and build on existing success. This paper sets out the key characteristics of what a future Regional Policy should look like with a view to influencing future funding.”