Tuesday, October 4, 2016

News: Further certainty on EU funding

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European Union (EU) funded projects signed up to the point at which the UK departs the EU, will be fully funded, after the Chancellor extended previous guarantees.

Rothbiz reported following the historic referendum vote that a number of key regeneration and business support projects in the Sheffield city region (SCR) face a funding black hole if EU structural funding allocated to the region is not replaced.

Over €200m in EU funding was expected to be used to support businesses, inward investment, infrastructure, innovation and social inclusion in the SCR until 2020.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed that that the Government will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed after the Autumn Statement and which continue after the UK has left the EU (possibly in 2019).

However, funding for projects will only be honoured by the government, if they are good value for money and are in line with domestic strategic priorities.

Each government department will take responsibility for the allocation of money to projects in line with these conditions and the wider rules on public spending.

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The Sheffield city region LEP's EU Structural Investment Fund Strategy was only updated this year and sets out how €203m (£175m) of funding would be used, based around six main priorities: supporting and creating new businesses; growing existing businesses; attracting incoming businesses; increasing exporting; developing the skills base and labour mobility; improving and enhancing infrastructure.

Six calls were made by the SCR via the Government last year in a bid to secure £17m in EU funds for support in relation to international trade, investment into Enterprise Zones and innovation capital. Calls to secure £12m have been made this year to support SME's, self-employment, renewable energy projects, and improve access to IT.

Through its devolution deals, the Combined Authority was pushing to be given Intermediate Body status and more control over how funding from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund was spent.

Images: European Commission


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