Friday, July 3, 2015

News: EU funding decision costs Rotherham in more ways than one

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The failed legal fight with the Government over the way it decided how millions of EU funding was allocated has cost Rotherham Council £25,000 so far.

The Government's decision could cost South Yorkshire £50m in funding to support jobs and economic growth.

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal in February with the case focusing on the scope of the margin of discretion to be accorded to the Secretary of State, Vince Cable, in allocating EU structural funding and whether his allocation decisions in this case breached the EU principles of proportionality and equal treatment.

In 2013, the government announced that the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (which includes South Yorkshire along with north Nottingham and north Derbyshire districts) can expect €203m for 2014 to 2020 as part of €6.2bn (£5.3bn) of EU Structural and Investment Funds to boost growth under a simplified "Growth Programme."

In the previous settlement, South Yorkshire received €410m. From 2014-2020 this will be cut to around €180m.

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Led by Rotherham Council, the authorities in South Yorkshire and Merseyside, challenged the legality of the decision all the way to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases and hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.

Jonathan Swift QC was instructed to act on behalf of the nine local authorities on behalf of the Sheffield City Region and Merseyside City Region. Rotherham Council's share of the legal costs incurred by the local authorities who were a party to the court proceedings amounted to £24,578.

The Government's costs may also be payable by the authorities. That issue was still to be decided by the Supreme Court. If these costs were payable by the authorities the maximum which would be payable by Rotherham Council, would be £15,000.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "As a result of the outcome of the case itself, as stated in the judgment this was likely to be a reduction in funding for South Yorkshire for the period 2014-2020, of around €300m, compared to the previous funding between 2007 and 2013. This was approximately a 65% cut in funding, as accepted by the Government. Further the amount of funding proposed was approximately €60 million less than the European Commission notionally allocated for South Yorkshire."

European programmes such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have supported projects in Rotherham such as The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the Nuclear AMRC, the redevelopment of Rotherham Railway Station, the Rotherham Renaissance Flood Alleviation Scheme, the award-winning enterprise education programme Rotherham Ready, and business support programmes for high growth companies and enterprising exporters.

Rotherham Council website

Images: European Union

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