THE EU gets a lot of stick in Britain's ambivalent relationship with Europe, but there are times when its welcome concern for the economic health of the regions outshines that of our own government.

For take the multi-million-pound boost that East Lancashire gets from the EU today, with grants aimed at helping to offset the decline of the textile and defence industries.

That is just the sort of precisely-targeted help that our area should have been getting from the UK government one and two recessions ago when the decline of these major industries, particularly that of textiles, was evident.

But the response then was for the government to cut its regional aid schemes - and deny East Lancashire a good deal of economic help when it was crying out for being made a grant-aided Development Area.

At least Europe sees the point - but a long time after too much damage has already been done.

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