Devon and our Local Enterprise Partnership’s dependence on EU funding

“The 2007-13 round of the European Regional Development Fund delivered 65,000 jobs and more than 15,000 new businesses.

The main priorities in the Heart of the South West for this round of the programme are:

• research and innovation;
• supporting and promoting small to medium-sized enterprises;
• low carbon;
• Information and communications technology …

… A total of £116,315,073 of ESIF has been provisionally allocated to the Heart of the South West LEP, made up of: £57,596,574 European Regional Development Fund; £43,178,166 European Social Fund and £15,540,333 European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. (Exact figures will vary slightly reflecting changes to exchange rates.)

A European Strategic Investment Fund Committee for the Heart of the South West has been established. This committee, which was set up following an open advertisement, is made up of leading figures in the HotSW private and public sector and is on hand to assist and inform potential applicants about the process and advise on criteria that is most likely to achieve success. …

… The European Growth Programme is worth just over €7.3billion (almost £5.8billion). It is made up of the following three Funds:

• European Regional Development Fund (€3.6billion)
• European Social Fund (€3.5billion)
• Part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development* (€221million)

The Rural Development Programme 2014 to 2020 has a total value of over £3.5 billion, of which €221 million will be invested through the European Growth programme to help promote rural economic growth.

We have agreed the major points of principle about the ERDF operational programme with the European Commission. Therefore, although the programme document has not formally been agreed, we feel able to invite applicants to apply for funding. The references in the call documents are based on the latest text of the ERDF Operational Programme. This text may be subject to further amendment during final agreement with the Commission. We will take the possibility of relevant changes to the text into account when assessing outline and full applications, and where such changes occur, will notify applicants of any issues that arise, and propose a method of dealing with them. We expect the operational programme to be formally agreed before the need to enter into funding contracts with applicants.

Between 23 March and 27 March, calls for projects are going live across all three of the above programmes. These can be accessed at

European Structural and Investment Funds
The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions are the managing authorities for ERDF and ESF funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs. For more information visit”

Whither Cornwall? Its Local Enterprise Partnership has no idea

“According to figures from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the region was on course by 2020 to have benefited from a total of £2.5bn of funding – EU cash matched with public and private investment – since the turn of the century.

Headline projects completed with EU backing have included a £132m scheme to bring super-fast broadband to the far south-west, three innovation centres, rail line improvements and the development of a glitzy university campus at Penryn, near Falmouth.

It wasn’t going to end there. Between now and 2020, key projects supported by EU funding were set to include exciting work around aerospace – with Newquay touted as a possible site for the proposed spaceport announced in the Queen’s speech – and in geothermal energy.” …

… In the hours that followed the referendum result, Cornwall council and the local enterprise partnership (LEP) sought reassurances that they would not lose their funding and were mocked on social media, where critics claimed they had voted out and then asked if they could keep the EU cash anyway.

Sandra Rothwell, chief executive of the LEP, told the Guardian it wasn’t like that. “Cornwall was one of those places with a high percentage for leave and we’re not asking Europe if we can keep the money anyway. Our focus is on getting a message to national government: We have a clearly evidenced economic need, we have very clear plans of what we want to do. We have been delivering that plan on the basis of investment up to 2020. That plan needs to continue.”

Rothwell has asked for assurances about how Cornwall will continue to be funded, both up to the point where the UK leaves the EU and in the years after that. “There has been no clarification yet,” she said.” …