Highland Council Leader calls for assurances on future Highland projects
The Highland Council is not impacted on any current projects by the “interruption” of EU funds to Scotland for 2007 -13 Programmes. The “interruption” relating to 2013 will have no bearing on claims submitted by the Council in 2014 or 2015 and Highland Council projects, audited in 2013, received a clean bill of health.
Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: “The Highland Council is not immediately affected by this issue, however, I am naturally concerned that EU funded development programmes are not delivering, according to the rules laid down by Brussels. I understand that other organisations in the Highlands and Islands will be impacted by this and we need to find what we can do to support them.
“Council projects, examined in 2013 passed this audit with flying colours and this is reassuring to me. This means that the Council will not miss out on vital European funds as it works to develop the Highlands.
“I have asked for a review of our position regarding drawing down monies in respect of the remaining projects from the 2007-13 programmes and I am assured that the Council is on track to claim all grant eligible from past approvals.
“For future projects, I, along with partners in the Highlands & Islands, have asked Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown for this matter be discussed at the regional EU funding committee (Highlands & Islands Territorial Committee) planned for the second week in September. We must seek assurances that delays to the implementation for the current (2014-20) programmes will be addressed as a matter of utmost urgency.”
She added: "It is vital that the Government, the Council and our partners across the Highlands & Islands work together to ensure that any such occurrences are avoided in the future. This will undoubtedly affect Scotland’s reputation in Europe. Such uncertainties do not help the region and our ability to capitalise on EU funding to develop the economy of the Highlands and Islands.”