To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) legislation and (b) regulations govern the UK government’s ability to provide match funding for European Maritime and Fisheries Fund projects; and whether those rules apply to his Department's executive agencies in the same way as his Department.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the rules governing match funding contributions by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations to European Maritime and Fisheries Fund projects are required to be applied in the same way in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.
The principle legislation governing the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is The EMFF Regulation (EU 508/2014) and the Common Provisions Regulation (EU1303/2013). The EMFF regulation provides for co-financing of EMFF funds between the European Commission (EC) and the member states. Both regulations have direct effect in the UK, and apply to the Department and its executive agencies. The EU regulations are enabled in domestic legislation by the Grants for Fishing and Aquaculture Industries Regulations 2015.
Under the EMFF Regulation, the UK is obliged to submit to the European Commission the UK EMFF Operational Programme (OP), which the EC adopted on 30 November 2015. Any subsequent changes to the UK’s OP must be submitted to the EC for approval and may only take effect once that approval is granted.
In adopting the OP, governance arrangements have been put in place which underpin the implementation of EMFF for the purposes of awarding funding to projects. These arrangements are documented in the EMFF Management and Control System, with customer facing guidance notes outlining the national rules on the application of match funding publicised on each devolved administration website.
National match funding contributions were determined by each devolved administration based on specific policy priorities. This took into consideration the availability of ‘other national’ funding sources. The application of match funding allocated to projects is carried out across the UK in line with the Operational Programme. In the 2018/19 financial year, Defra has made available up to £3.8 million in national match towards eligible EMFF projects in England.