Aberdeen faces ‘bleak future’ post-Brexit, new figures show

Pictured is Vattenfall's new European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in the North Sea near Blackdog.
Pictured is Vattenfall's new European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in the North Sea near Blackdog.

Aberdeen faces a “bleak future” after Brexit after new figures showed that nearly £65 million in EU funding has been given to city council projects over the last decade, it was claimed yesterday.

The statistics, released by the SNP group, shows that some 76m Euros in funding had been given by Brussels for projects between 2007 and 2017.

Some 40m of the figure comes from the European Offshore Windfarm off the coast of Aberdeen –with many millions more thought to have come from indirect benefits of the project.

Other energy-related projects also received funding from Europe, including the hydrogen bus initiative – with more than 23m Euros handed over –and the CIVITAS transport improvements.

In the 2016 referendum, more than 61% of Aberdeen residents voted to remain in the EU.

The UK is to leave by next March.

Last night opposition SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said the figures showed that the EU played a “pivotal” role in the city’s funding.

But a Brexit-backing councillor said that “EU money” was the wrong term as British taxpayers had paid more into the EU than they got back.

Mr Flynn said: “It’s clear, beyond any doubt, that EU funding has played an absolutely pivotal role in allowing the council to invest in a host of projects in recent years.

“A quick glance at these funding initiatives shows a real focus on tackling climate change.

“We already know that Aberdeen is regarded as being the city which is likely to be the hardest hit in the entire UK as a result of Brexit and losing this level of EU investment, in such vitally important schemes, only serves to shine further light on what looks like a very bleak future.”

Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton supported the leave campaign.

He said: “As one of the only net contributors to the EU budget, UK taxpayers have consistently given more than they have received back.

“Many of the projects are listed as (being) through match funding in which Aberdonians pay a significant amount towards.

In the same way we’ve funded £75m of the Scottish Government’s AWPR budget.

“If councillor Flynn is really concerned about public spending in Aberdeen he’ll be doing his utmost to ensure we’re not short changed by the SNP Government budget settlement in the coming months.”