At national level, preparations for the new Funds period started in 2003 with the development of the UK’s position in the consultation document “A Modern Regional Policy for the UK” and finished with the publication of the UK’s National Strategic Reference Framework on 23 October 2006.
In March 2003 the Government launched a UK-wide consultation exercise on the reform of EU regional policy. The consultation document outlined the Government’s approach to regional policy in the UK and its proposed position on the future of the Funds. The consultation attracted 290 responses from across the UK. These came from a wide range of organisations and individuals with an interest in the role and future of the Structural Funds.
The then DTI led for the UK on the negotiations of the Structural Fund Regulations, which set up the framework for how each fund should be managed. The Regulations were published in July 2006. The European Council of December 2005 agreed a total Structural Funds budget of €308 billion, in 2004 prices, for 2007-13. We had successfully agreed a more disciplined budget than the Commission’s original proposal of €341 billion. As a result of the agreement, the UK will continue to receive substantial Structural Funds receipts, amounting to €9.4 billion (2004 prices), for 2007-13.
On 28 February 2006 the Government launched a nationwide consultation on the UK's draft National Strategic Reference Framework. The National Strategic Reference Framework is a requirement of the new EU Regulations for the Structural and Cohesion Funds for 2007- 2013 and establishes the broad priorities for future Structural Funds Programmes in the UK. The Government published its response to the consultation and the finalised National Strategic Reference Framework on 23 October 2006. The consultation attracted 314 written responses from a range of local, regional and national organisations.