The Government is proposing to offer local enterprise partnerships a greater role in the distribution of European development funds in the next round of the EU support programme.
A draft of the proposed new model will go out for formal consultation in spring 2013. The EU funds covered include the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
ERDF is the main pot for property development and infrastructure and was worth €755m to the North West during the 2007-2013 programme.
The value for the next spending period, 2014-2020, has not been decided but the Government says it wants a more efficient mechanism for distributing the funds.
Prior to the Coalition taking power in 2010, ERDF money in the regions was handled by Regional Development Agencies. The RDAs were disbanded by the incoming government and ERDF was taken over by Department for Communities & Local Government, albeit through a local committee structure. The LEPs were established as a sub-regional replacement of the RDAs. There are five LEPs in the North West: Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire & Warrington; Greater Manchester; and Liverpool City Region.
BIS said in a statement about the new model: "The proposals include ideas for using the different funds in a more complementary and integrated way. The Government also wants to make funding simpler to access and easier to operate for beneficiaries. Local Enterprise Partnerships will be invited to be more closely involved in the process of distributing the funds. LEPs would bring together local authorities and local businesses, and can therefore design and deliver investment strategies that target the needs of their local area."
BIS is currently presenting the ideas in a series of roadshows around the country, due to reach Preston on 17 December. This is the only scheduled North West visit.
- Local Government representatives and other organisations have been invited to attend. If you wish to attend an upcoming road show please email: firstname.lastname@example.org