ESIF - Rural - Transnational
Funding since the result of the referendum on the 23rd June, there has been considerable uncertainty about what this means for ESI Funds in the UK.
On 13th August, the Chancellor of the Exchequer released a statement (which can be found here) setting out Government’s intention that in the short term all ESIF projects that are contracted by the 2016 Autumn Statement (23 November 2016) will be funded.
The statement means that any project which is contracted before the 2016 Autumn Statement will be funded either from EU resources or from domestic resources if the project continues beyond the point of the UK’s departure from the EU.
Beyond this the statement clarifies that new arrangements will be put in place to consider ESIF projects after the Autumn Statement. The statement is positive in confirming that ESIF projects that are contracted ahead of the Autumn Statement will be fully funded. However, uncertainty remains about the issuing of any further calls for projects.
Following the Government’s announcement on 13 August, all Rural Development Programme (RDP) projects, including agri-environment agreements, signed before the Autumn Statement, will also be fully funded. Natural England, Forestry Commission and the Rural Paying Agency (RPA) have been contacting current applicants for funding about whether they have been successful. RPA will also be contacting LEADER groups who will then be able to contact applicants to tell them if they have been successful. In the meantime, LEPs have been asked to revise their profile with regards to their notional allocations of RDP funding. The revisions may be subject of a single national call with separate lots per LEP.
GM LEP was allocated a notional allocation of £419,000 of RDP funding. In addition to that, local authorities within Greater Manchester are involved in three LEADER Schemes.
- Lancashire Pennine Moors LEADER (€1.7m for the whole area) - rural areas of Bolton, Bury, Wigan and Rochdale.
- South Pennines LEADER (€1.2m for the whole area) – rural areas of Oldham and Rochdale.
- Cheshire LEADER (€3m for the whole area) - Trafford (Dunham Massey area).
EU Transnational funding
The announcement from the HM Treasury also made reference to EU funding which is managed centrally by the Commission such as Horizon 2020, and other transnational funds. In the statement the Chancellor encourages UK businesses and universities to continue bidding for these competitive EU funds while UK remains a member of the EU. In the statement, Treasury also agrees to underwrite any payments of any granted EU contracts even if these projects continue beyond UK’s departure from EU. The announcement has provided a level of reassurance to European partners that UK organisations are, and will continue to be, eligible for EU funding, and that an exit of the EU will not undermine any existing EU transnational project or proposal.
As a result we continue supporting partners in GM who wish to participate in any of these programmes via our usual services – workshops, information sharing, Brussels Offices, etc.
Additional Notes Update (14 October 2016)
The announcement on 13 August has been updated in an announcement on the 3rd October that all projects securing funding before the point at which the UK leaves the EU will have their funding guaranteed. These announcements apply not only to ESIF projects but to all EU funded activity and so also encompasses EAFRD (rural), Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, Interreg, URBACT and so on. The statement means that any project which is contracted before leaving the EU will be funded either from EU resources or from domestic resources if the project continues beyond the point of the UK’s departure from the EU.
Should this guarantee be as comprehensive as it appears, it potentially amounts to a major protection against the chief danger for partners in getting involved in trans-national projects: namely, that we might exit the EU part way through the project and funding for our involvement in the project would cease.