LGA: No let up in going after government for EU funding guarantee

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LGA chairman Lord Porter says there will be no let-up in going after government for a full guarantee of £5.3bn coming to cover regeneration schemes until 2020.

The LGA believes  the funding commitment confirmed by government  falls well short of such a guarantee.

Lord Porter said local areas need certainty around the future of all of the £5.3 billion in EU regeneration funding promised to them by 2020.

He said: “The Government’s commitment to honour existing agreed projects reliant on EU money and those signed-off by the Autumn Statement will help get some vital growth-boosting schemes off the ground across the country.

“Continued uncertainty risks damaging local regeneration plans and stalling flagship infrastructure projects, employment and skills schemes and local growth.

“The vast majority of EU regeneration funding remains tied up in thousands of proposals which are yet to receive government approval. For example, Cornwall and the North-east have both only received 20 per cent of their EU funding allocations so far and Birmingham has only received 25 per cent.

“Between now and the Autumn Statement, the Government must pull out all the stops in working with local areas to get the hundreds of projects currently in development and at the cusp of funding agreements over the finishing line.

“The Government must also use the Autumn Statement to guarantee that local areas will receive every penny of EU funding they are expecting by the end of the decade, as well as honouring commitments to match fund EU monies with domestic funding.

“This guarantee needs to be made regardless of whether the money comes from the EU or is replacement funding and even if decisions over which projects it should be spent on have been made or not. Alongside this, local areas now need, more than ever, to be given a formal and decisive role over how to spend vital EU regeneration funding.

“Local areas in England are desperate to get on with the job of creating jobs, building infrastructure and boosting growth. With national funding for regeneration increasingly being depleted, all local areas have looked towards EU money. Securing the future of this vital regeneration funding is central to this and key to achieving the Government’s ambition of an economy that works for all.”

The Treasury is expected to continue its funding beyond the UK’s departure from the EU for all structural and investment fund projects, as long as they are agreed before the autumn statement.

If a project obtains EU funding after that, an assessment process by the Treasury will determine whether funding should be guaranteed by the UK government post-Brexit.

Current levels of agriculture funding will also be guaranteed until 2020, when the Treasury says there will be a “transition to new domestic arrangements”.

Universities and researchers will have funds guaranteed for research bids made directly to the European commission, including bids to the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, an €80bn (£69bn) pot for science and innovation.

The Treasury says it will underwrite the funding awards, even when projects continue post-Brexit.

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