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Conservative party conference venue received €4.2m in EU funding

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By Euronews
Conservative party conference venue received €4.2m in EU funding
Copyright  REUTERS/Phil Noble

The Manchester conference centre where the Conservative party is holding its 2019 conference received almost €4.2m (£3.8 million) in funding from the European Union.

Manchester Central, which includes exhibition spaces, auditoriums and conference suites, underwent a three-year €34m (£30m) redevelopment in 2012, €4.2m of which came from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The grant came as part of the ERDF’s 2013-2017 budget, which also paid out to 39 other projects in the UK’s second city in a four year period, amounting to a total of €108m (£95m).

The juxtaposition between Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan at this year’s conference and hostility to the EU on the part of many of his allies in the Conservative party has not gone unnoticed in Manchester this week.

A BBC journalist tweeted: “So here we are at the #ConservativePartyConference which will be dominated by Brexit.. And the building we are in is part funded by the EU.”

But the tweet has been seized on by Brexit supporters, who point out that Britain contributes billions of pounds per year into EU coffers, indeed in 2018 its gross contribution was €22.5bn (£20bn), according to the Office of National Statistics.

After an abatement of €5bn (£4.5bn) and EU funded public sector credits, worth another €5bn, the actual amount of money the UK paid the EU last year was €12.4bn (£11bn). That contrasts with an overall public spending figure of €975.77bn (£864.9bn) in the UK.

Euronews has approached the Conservative Party for comment.

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