Wednesday, October 24, 2018

News: Funding boost for SCR projects

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The Sheffield city region (SCR) is working to sign off on millions of euros of funding for economic development and regeneration projects before the UK leaves the European Union (EU) next year.

Structural funding from the EU is integral to meeting the targets in the Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP's) Growth Plan, which set an ambitious target of creating 70,000 new jobs in the SCR by 2023.

The SCR has an allocation of just over €200m of funding through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to invest in projects and initiatives between 2014 and 2020.

The latest calls for cash from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) include projects based on providing gap funding to land owners and developers, supporting potential inward investors, supporting companies to be more innovative, support for low carbon schemes, supporting businesses to take advantage of superfast broadband, and support targeted at businesses that demonstrate growth potential.

£5m is set to allocated to projects that increase the provision of available property. The call states: "The availability of a quality commercial property stock is key to increasing SCR's share of Inward Investment and also to encourage local growth."

ERDF support is being made available for development in the key SCR growth areas – in particular the urban centres, Enterprise Zones and motorway corridors.

£10m has been earmarked to continue the SCR's targeting of investment and support at entrepreneurs and businesses with the potential to grow and create high value jobs with projects that are complimentary to the SCR Growth Hub.

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£3m is available for local interventions to help overcome some of the barriers faced by potential foreign investors.

£7m is set to allocated to target the "large number of SMEs which are disconnected from the innovation ecosystem" with projects to "address SCR business' low propensity for innovation, stimulate demand and idea creation for innovation and productivity growth."

For low carbon projects, £13m is set to be used to strengthen energy supply and systems, as well as ensuring greater resource efficiency. Helping business take up low carbon technology, demonstration schemes and regenerating brownfield land are key aspects of the call.

£2.3m is set to be allocated to support new and existing businesses with benefiting from superfast broadband through digital transformation and innovation.

The Government has previously said it will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects which continue after the UK has left the EU. Most projects will need to be complete by June 2023.

In March 2019, Britain will exit the EU and the Government has confirmed that it will launch the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, using money returning from the EU to provide funding for economic development and local growth across the UK.

Images: RMBC

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