Issue date: 3rd July 2013
The UK Government has announced that European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) are to be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships areas across the UK for a seven year period through a new decentralised EU Growth Programme. There is a total of 6.2 billion Euros over the seven-year period. Whilst this is a big sum, it is over a long-period and is likely to be competitively sought after by a range of interest all intent on demonstrating the jobs and value it could bring to their area - but there could be some potential funds for waterway projects, including restoration work. The key to gaining funds will be to make good relations and a good case to the relevant Local Enterprise Partnership.
The government has given a commitment that the Growth Programme Funds will be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnership areas as an important new source of finance to stimulate local growth and jobs. This marks a significant shift from previous European programmes which were substantially centralised with limited local involvement in many key areas. Under this new model, decision-making powers will be transferred from Whitehall to local areas. Local Enterprise Partnerships and local partners will be in charge of these European Funds hence the importance for waterway promoters to forge good relationships with relevant Partnerships.
Further information, including a breakdown of funds allocated to each region is available on the Government website.