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(From Western Daily Press)
Professor Peter Gripaios, a leading South West economist at the University of Plymouth, has questioned the aspirations of public sector bodies charged with regenerating the region and suggested millions of pounds of aid pouring into the region 'could have been better spent'. Graeme Demianyk hears that business wants to see more investment in infrastructure while economic policy-makers say it is not a straightforward issue As one of the poorest economies in Europe, the Westcountry is the beneficiary of hundreds of millions of pounds of grant aid to revitalise productivity and alleviate pockets of deprivation.
Between 2000 and the end of 2006, Cornwall's assisted status will mean a cash injection of more than GBP350 million from a European Union pot of cash made of contributions from all member states.
Despite signs of recovery in the Duchy - economic growth is outstripping the national average - productivity in the county is still on a par with some of the most impoverished parts of Europe, even with the recent accession in to the EU of low-wage countries from the east of the continent.
Consequently, with Cornwall's economic output still only 70 per cent of the EU average …