A SCOTTISH business has revealed how it missed out on a whopping £50,000 worth of EU funding due to Brexit.

The Barrhead-based business growing plants for commercial clients had plans to expand which the owner says were scuppered by the UK leaving the EU.

Founded in 1974, Fereneze employs three people: Ron Murray, his wife Mary and his son Neil.

The 77-year-old is hoping that his son will take over the business, with plans to upscale with the help of EU funds.

They applied for the Leader scheme in 2020, an EU-funded local development scheme that has been described as “critical” – particularly for rural businesses.

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As part of the funding, which is ­distributed by the Scottish ­Government, Murray said his ­business would put forward £50,000, which would be matched by the ­project if successful.

Murray told The National: “In 2020, Renfrewshire Council accepted our proposal, saying it was a good one and that they were going to put it forward for financing. The funding involved was around about £100,000 so it wasn’t a fly in the ointment or anything like that – it was quite a considerable amount of money.

“Once the business plan and ­application form had been ­submitted, time went on, and coming up to the end of the year 2020, we were getting a bit concerned because we knew that the UK was pulling out of the ­European community – and it could well be the case that we lose it altogether.”

At that point, Murray ­approached Renfrewshire Council for an update over the status of the funding.

“The reply we got back was that they were unsure as to what money was going to come forward from the EU because of Brexit, that they were running out and the full sum wouldn’t be able to be awarded, if we get anything,” he continued.

“Consequently, we left the EU in 2021 and shortly thereafter, we found the money had dried up and there were no further possibilities of ­getting financed through that scheme.

“This was directly due to Brexit.

“It left us in a quandary with what to do. We put a lot of time and effort into it; we were willing to commit £50,000 to the expansion, but without the financing, it wasn’t to go ahead.

“These are the consequences of having exited from the EU.

“We put a business plan ­together that was accepted and found to be a good one and was likely to go ahead.”

Murray said he approached ­Business Gateway, which helps small ­businesses with advice and funding, but was told there was no alternative funding available for him.

He added: “We still have the vision in mind that we set out in a business plan but it’s going to take a lot longer to achieve and is really dependent on how the economy pans out.

“We still have it in mind, and it is still very much alive, but the problem is financing, which is just no longer available.”

The UK Government has ­previously said that EU funding such as the Leader scheme will be replaced in full by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The SNP have accused the UK Government of bypassing Holyrood with the funding, which is yet to be launched, as it means Westminster will directly fund Scottish councils.

Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work Richard Lochhead hit out at the scheme in response to Murray’s plight.

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He said: “The UK Government has consistently refused to engage with devolved administrations in any meaningful way or provide basic information about the Shared Prosperity Fund, despite it being due to start in April 2022.

“It is concerning that long-running EU support, which has been of enormous benefit to Scotland, may not be replicated by the UK Government’s proposals to replace European funding with the centrally administered Shared Prosperity Fund.

“The UK Government is putting the devolution settlement at risk by deciding itself how the Shared Prosperity Fund will be spent in areas of devolved responsibility, when it should be for the Scottish Government to set its own priorities.”

The UK Government and Renfrewshire Council were ­approached for comment.

If your business has been affected by the UK leaving the EU we would like to hear from you! Get in touch at bit.ly/scotnatbrexit or email craig.meighan@Newsquest.co.uk