MORE than £56million of European Union funding was dished out in East Lancashire in the last six years, it has been revealed.

Figures showing more than £47million was divided up to farmers through the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development between 2014 and 2017.

According to website, which shows on an interactive map how much and where the EU funding was spent, a further £2million supported research projects in Blackburn, Burnley and Haslingden.

At least £3million was spent on youth and sport projects, including international work experience for students at Accrington and Rossendale College.

Roughly £4million was invested into employment and economic growth, including a volunteering project ran by Blackburn with Darwen Council, and a technology project with the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Map showing funding across East Lancashire on

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said East Lancashire benefits greatly from EU funding.

Cllr Khan said: “It’s very concerning where this money is going to come from if we leave the EU.

“We’ve had millions of pounds supporting the economy, infrastructure, community projects."

“What we are worried about is the lack of a solid plan to replace this money. EU funding has been extremely important to East Lancashire.”

Leader of Burnley Council, Cllr Mark Townsend, said EU funding has created jobs and prosperity.

He said: “We are leaving the the EU and it is vital that the government puts replacement funding into the system now for continued investment.

“So far the government has only provided a sound bite in saying there will be a national Shared Prosperity Fund.

“How much there will be in the pot and how it will be shared are all unknown and we leave the EU in a few days time.

“It’s a shambles. No public investment will stall private investment.

“We need certainty to ensure Burnley and East Lancashire achieves its economic potential for the benefit of residents.”

Pendle MP Andrew Standeven said: “The UK has always been a net contributor to the EU, putting more in than we get out."

“We give the EU around £9billion every year.

“Any so-called EU money spent in East Lancashire has therefore come from East Lancashire taxpayers who are also paying for projects across the rest of Europe.

“There will therefore be more money to spend on domestic projects including our farming sector once we have left the EU.”

According to the figures, farmers were supported with around £11million in funding in 2017, roughly £13,100 per farmer.

The government has said the £1.2billion-per-year of European structural funding given to the UK would be replaced by the Shared Prosperity Fund, once the UK leaves the EU.

David Hall, regional director of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, said the funding has led to businesses being able to expand and create more jobs in the farming sector.

He said: “The funding from the EU, which is all match funded, has allowed farmers to create better quality produce.

“The commitment from the government is they are going to match the same level of funding. They have committed to this until the end of the current parliament so in the short to medium term the level of funding will be the same.”

Brexit was back by every East Lancashire borough – 46.3 per cent of Blackburn voters backed staying in the EU while 53.7 per cent voted to leave.

Burnley voted 66.4 per cent to leave along with Pendle and Hyndburn, which had majorities of 63.2 per cent and 66.2 per cent.

In the 2016 referendum 56.3 per cent of the Ribble Valley opted to go it alone and Rossendale rallied for the Brexiteers, on 60.6 per cent.