New tools readied for next round of euro aid

A review of European funding models across the North West commissioned by council leaders suggests that eight new types of financial instruments could be implemented to boost performance compared to the current grant-led approach.

The research, published by New Economy in Manchester, provided case studies of how the eight financial instruments, which include urban development funds, business angel finance, social impact bonds and local asset backed vehicles, have already been used across Europe.

Baron Frankal, director of economic strategy for New Economy, said: "The financial instruments identified in this research are cost-effective approaches to maximising the value of, and sustaining the level of EU funding within the region.

"Whilst this may not be a one-size fits all approach, the general consensus is that there is scope to use innovative financial products to the wider benefit of the North West region.

"The research phase is just the beginning. We're now taking this forward into shaping a set of policies which will help to inform how sub-regions and localities within the North West approach the 2014-2020 structural funding programming period."

The instruments generally help the public sector to leverage larger amounts of investment and to enjoy more local flexibility in how European investment is spent and repaid.

The review was commissioned by the North West Regional Leaders Board on behalf Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Lancashire.

The findings are coordinated and published by New Economy, the agency which delivers policy, strategy and research for Greater Manchester's economic growth and prosperity.

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