Update on EU funding from LEP
Ever since the June 23 Referendum vote, the future of EU funding in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been in the balance.
Our region qualifies for millions of pounds of EU investment because our economy lags behind most of Europe and the money is there to help us close the gap.
But since the Brexit vote there has been a huge question mark over whether we would continue to receive that funding, which is worth around £500 million to our region between 2014 and 2020.
The good news is that we do now have some clarity following a letter received by the LEP from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid over the weekend.
The Government has confirmed that EU-backed projects with signed contracts or funding agreements already in place, and projects signed before the Autumn Statement in November or December this year, will be fully funded even if they continue beyond the UK’s exit from the UK.
Horizon 2020 research funding, which is important to our Universities, will be similarly guaranteed, and Government will continue to match the current level of agricultural funding to 2020, which is good news for rural communities.
What is less clear is what will happen to all those projects in the pipeline that will not be signed before the Autumn statement, and after we have actually left the EU.
Government has said that it will work with the LEP, Cornwall Council and other partners to consider how such projects should be treated and whether they will also get a funding guarantee. Further details have been promised before the Autumn Statement and we will be pressing for clarity.
Longer term, the Government says it wants to consider the future of all EU-funded programmes post-Brexit, and will work closely with devolved administrations – including Cornwall – on future funding arrangements.What is clear is that our investment relationship with Government will change radically. The role of the LEP, working with business, local authorities and our MPs, is to seize on that as an opportunity to strike the best deal for one and all.