The Government are considering how best to deliver the 2014-20 programme for the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Within a smaller overall EU budget, our aims are for the funds to:
help the UK meet its targets on driving sustainable growth and jobs; and be delivered more efficiently and effectively.
In April this year, my department carried out an informal consultation in England to inform the development of the partnership agreement, which is essentially a high level business plan to be agreed with the European Commission, setting out how the UK proposes to deliver the funds.
In response to this informal consultation, stakeholders have called for:
reduced administrative burdens in delivering each of the funds; ability to align funds, as appropriate, to enable a more holistic approach to dealing with barriers to growth;flexibility in managing funding programmes that allow for a more place based approach as well as an issue based approach;better use of match funding by aligning national programmes, local expenditure and private sector investment with EU funds; and local engagement throughout the process.
The Government are now considering how to take this forward and will gather further evidence before a formal consultation in the spring.
We are placing copies of the Government response in the Libraries of the House. A copy will also be available on the website at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/economic-development/european-structural-and-cohesion-funds.