European Regional Development Fund

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th July 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which organisations in receipt of funding from the European regional development fund have been required to make financial corrections for breaches of the rules of the fund in respect of publicity; what the name is of each project in respect of which a breach was identified; what the monetary value of each such project was; what the nature of the breach was; and what financial penalty or correction was imposed.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

holding answer 23 June 2011

The information provided is for English programmes only; programmes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are managed by the devolved Administrations.

It is important that taxpayers' money is spent properly, and there are audits and checks on programmes funded from the public purse.

We have to operate existing ERDF programmes according to the regulations. However, the Government believe that the regulations should be focused on ensuring that ERDF meets its objective of promoting economic competitiveness. We will be arguing strongly with the Commission that in the next programme, penalties for things that do not contribute to this objective, such as failing to publicise the programme, should be swept away.

The irony of the museum housing the Labour party's archives being fined for not flying the EU flag should not be lost on hon. Members.

Breaches of ERDF European Commission Publicity Regulations

2000-06 ERDF Programme

There are no data available for programmes before 2000. The details requested for the 2000-06 ERDF programmes are provided in the following table.

Organisation Project title Project value (£) ERDF grant (£) Irregularity (£) Details
Advantage West Midlands (Regional Development Agency) Marketing the Region 3,736,855 1,683,280 201,801 This project was to fund publicity material to promote the West Midlands to tourists and inward investors. In approx 2003 the then marketing consultants for AWM took the decision not to use the EU logo on the material to avoid having a confused brand image. They were unaware of the requirements of ERDF on publicity. This error was identified 2 years later, at which point AWM voluntarily withdrew this ERDF expenditure and repaid it.
           
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce PROF-IT 2,847,080 729,900 77,609 A corporate event run by the former Business Link Birmingham and Solihull, which was part funded by ERDF. Corporate branding was used for the event rather than any acknowledgement of the ERDF contribution. Therefore a flat rate penalty of 10% imposed and £77,609 was repaid.
           
Peterborough YMCA YMCA Red Triangle 340,709.18 170,354.59 1,325.00 Failure to display ERDF logo and include on publicity material. The amount of ineligible ERDF was borne by Peterborough City Council.
           
North Tyneside Council Refurbishment of Whitley Bay Playhouse 3,561,621 626,489 16,450 As a result of an audit inspection it was found that there were a number of failings in the management of this project, of which the lack of publicity was one. As these failings contravened the terms of the ERDF letter an irregularity was raised and the council has repaid in full.
           
One North East International Trade and Support Services 1,485,909 594,364 28,497 As a result of an audit inspection it was found that there were a number of failings in the management of this project, of which the lack of publicity was one. As these failings contravened the ERDF regulations the RDA repaid £28,497.

2007-13 ERDF Programme

For the 2007-13 ERDF Programme the following financial corrections have been made.

Project name (Regional ERDF Programme) Monetary value of the project (£) Nature of the breach Financial penalty or correction (£)
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Inclusive Enterprise (Yorkshire and Humber) 8,000,000 Failure to appropriately advertise ERDF support during radio advert 5,250
University of Northampton Modelling and Visualisation Centre (East Midlands) 8,628,858 The project did not have the required billboard up in time (8 week period) 56,477.70
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council South Black Country SUD Package (West Midlands) 202,000 Failure to acknowledge ERDF Programme in text or display logos in job adverts 5,046
The National Museum of Labour History Peoples History Museum (North West) 756,300 No logo on billboard 7,223
North West Vision and Media NW Vision and Media Cluster Development (North West) 2,716,950 Marketing materials without logo 12,005
Merseytravel James Street Underground Station (North West) 1,700,000 Insufficient publicity at project start 13,600
The Merseyside Partnership Partners for Tourism (North West) 11.947,934 Use of incorrect logo 5,492.50
Business Link Business Link Brokerage Service (North West) 3,270,695 Job Advertisement without ERDF logo 5,296.47

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