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The contents of this website are under review following the formation of a new HM Government. Current information may be found at www.gonetwork.gos.gov.uk.

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European Funding: the National Picture (2007-13)

The European Union supports poorer regions of Member States by providing funds to help them regenerate their economies and create new jobs. There are three funding programmes known collectively as structural funds:

  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • European Fisheries Fund (EFF)

Government Offices (GOs) administer ESF and continue to work on the closure of the 2000-06 programmes. They also chair the Programme Monitoring Committees for ERDF 2007-13 programmes, which are delivered by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). EFF is delivered by the Marine Management Organisation. Each fund has a government department as its managing authority.

The European Regional Development Fund
Since 2000, England has benefited from more than £5 billion of ERDF funding, with a further €3.2 billion being invested in projects for the new round of programmes (2007-13). These programmes are designed to meet current needs by targeting employment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), innovation, high-tech business investment, among other key priorities identified by each region.

The managing authority for ERDF is Communities and Local Government (CLG). However, responsibility for the day-to-day management of the 2007-13 programmes sits with the RDAs. Links to the RDAs and further information about the new programmes can be found on the CLG website.

European Social Fund (2007-13)

The European Social Fund (ESF) funds training, human resources and equal opportunities schemes to promote employment opportunities for people in both Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programme areas.

There are nine Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes and one Convergence Programme in England.

The Managing Authority for ESF is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The 2007-2013 ESF Programme will invest £5 billion of which £2.5 billion will come from the ESF and £2.5 billion will be national funding.

The priorities in the 2007 to 2013 ESF programme are designed to focus ESF spending on specific activities and to ensure that it reaches people in most need of support. There are two main priorities in England:

  • Priority 1 is 'Extending employment opportunities'. It supports projects to tackle the barriers to work faced by unemployed and disadvantaged people
  • Priority 2 is 'Developing a skilled and adaptable workforce'. It supports projects to train people who do not have basic skills and qualifications needed in the workplace.

Government Offices administer ESF in a number of ways:

  • ensuring that funds are allocated and spent on the right things, in the right place, at the right time in accordance with regulations
  • processing project applications from their receipt to final payment
  • assisting potential applicants, partnerships, and other organisations to make the best use of the available funds by helping to develop and deliver programmes in a way that will secure the maximum sustainable economic benefits
  • advising local partnerships on how to access the funding and any support mechanisms that are available for putting applications together
  • ensuring that appropriate publicity and information is available to beneficiaries and the wider public about the way in which the funds are contributing to improving the quality of life

Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programme

The Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programme applies to the whole of England except Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, who come under the Convergence Objective.

Within the Competitiveness and Employment Programme, Merseyside and South Yorkshire benefit from transitional (phasing in) funding as former Objective 1 regions in 2000-2006 programme.

This new Programme is aimed at strengthening a region's competitiveness and attractiveness by:

  • promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
  • stimulating enterprise and supporting successful business
  • ensuring sustainable development, production and consumption
  • building sustainable communities

Convergence Programme

The Convergence Programme aims to improve the conditions for growth and development in the least-developed regions where the economy is still lagging behind the rest of the European Union (EU). It will do this by:

  • promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
  • stimulating innovation and knowledge transfer
  • improving accessibility and connectivity

In order to qualify for Convergence funding, a region must have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) below 75 per cent of the EU average. In England, only Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have Convergence status.
For more information visit the European Social Fund website.

The European Fisheries Fund

The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is the new fund for European Union fisheries grants operating until December 2013. It replaces the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) grants. The EFF provides grants for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector.

EFF is intended to help secure a sustainable and profitable fisheries industry. It will grant financial support during the period 2007 to 2013, with a view to help the industry adapt to changing circumstances.

The Managing Authority for FIFG is Defra. The programme is run by the Marine Management Organisation.

See also on our website

Internet links

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European funding in
 List item 1  North East
 List item 2  North West
 List item 3  London
 List item 4  East Midlands
 List item 5  South West
 List item 6  East of England
 List item 7  Yorkshire and The Humber
 List item 8  West Midlands

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