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Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, responding to the Communities & Local Government Select Committee Report on European Regional Development Funding, said:

"It is worrying that England is lagging behind in securing its full share of European regional development funding and that there are wide variations between the regions. Eric Pickles should be pushing projects to stimulate growth and help get us out of this recession made in Downing Street.   

"The Committee has concluded that this is happening because it's difficult for projects to find match funding, including from the Regional Growth Funds, because of the Government’s cuts in investment to the English regions, which go too far, too fast.

"And given that contracts have to be signed for the remaining European funding by the end of next year, we simply cannot be confident that they will get this mess sorted out in time. It would be a huge wasted opportunity if England missed out on desperately needed investment in its regions because the Government can’t get its act together."

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