European Structural Funds 2014-2020

European Structural Funds 2014-2020

The European Union’s (EU) multiannual financial framework for 2014-20 allows the new generation of EU spending programmes to be implemented from 1st January 2014. Regulation (EU) N°1303/2013   lays down common provisions applicable to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). These Funds operate under a common framework known as the ‘European Structural and Investment Funds’ or ‘ESIF’. The Regulation also sets out the provisions necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the ESIF and their co-ordination with one another and with other EU instruments.

In order to maximise the ESIF’s impact, eleven thematic objectives (TO) are outlined in the Regulations (Article 9, Regulation (EU) N°1303/2013).

Thematic Objectives (TO)
  1. Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
  2. Enhancing access to, and use and quality of, ICT
  3. Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs, of the agricultural sector (for the EAFRD) and of the fishery and aquaculture sector (for the EMFF)
  4. Supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors
  5. Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management
  6. Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
  7. Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures
  8. Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility
  9. Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination
  10. Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning
  11. Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration
Guidance for Beneficiaries of European Structural and Investment Funds and related EU instruments (Dec 2014)
to view a copy please click here
The England Programme

A central plank of the Government’s strategy for growth has been the creation of thirty-nine Local Enterprise Partnerships based on functional economic areas. These are partnerships between local businesses and local government and other key players such as universities, the voluntary and community sector and social and environmental partners, to take a strategic view on how best to deliver growth and jobs in their economic areas.

In the North West of England there are five Local Enterprise Partnerships:

For the 2014-2020 programming period the UK Govt has placed the ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF under a ‘Common Strategic Framework’ (CSF). This alignment provides an opportunity to implement much more strategically focussed programmes. The Govt has proposed an ‘EU Growth Programme’ where the objectives of the four funds overlap. This combined programme covers innovation, including research and development, SME competitiveness, skills, low carbon and employment.

The Govt wants investments under the ‘EU Growth Programme’ to be as coherent as possible and to ensure consistency between national and local requirements Local Enterprise Partnerships were invited to be the building blocks of the ‘EU Growth Programme’.

At a technical level each Fund will continue to operate as a distinct fund with its day to day running being overseen by the respective Managing Authority. To ensure coherence there will be an "EU Growth Programme Board" made up of Govt and Commission representatives plus key stakeholders. This Board will oversee the investments and administration of ERDF and ESF. In addition, the portfolio of investments under each thematic heading will be overseen by a thematic steering group who will work closely with relevant stakeholders.

UK Government ESIF website

ESF & ERDF Documentation

Regional Priorities

In the North West the aim is to use the of EU funding to further the following 12 economic development priorities:

Connectivity for sustainable growth
  • Access to international markets – Atlantic Gateway (including Airports; Superport; Ship Canal; Northern Hub); inward/trade and investment support
  • Superfast Broadband
  • Micro-connectivity/accessibility for inclusion and tackling unemployment
  • Low Carbon Infrastructure - critical grey/green/blue infrastructure including: Energy and transport; business resource efficiency
An economic base for smart growth
  • Investment in science/innovation key assets
  • Creating new businesses, products and business models - from the innovation base (innovation and competitiveness ‘eco-system’), and a focus on entrepreneurship and SME competitiveness
  • Growing existing strengths and supply chains (advanced Manufacturing life-sciences/Bio-Medical, Aerospace, Automotive, Chemical; Nuclear/renewable energy/Energy Coast; Creative & Digital; Maritime; Logistics; and Food Processing) – with a focus on SME competitiveness
  • Higher level skills & attracting talent – Role of anchor institutions such as HEIs; L3/advanced technician and L4; Workforce Development; Leadership/Management; Mentoring; Business to Business skills development; low carbon skills
Creating the conditions for inclusive growth
  • Business infrastructure in key economic locations – attractive locations; site servicing; commercial floorspace; access to finance; housing; efficient public sector; anchor institutions
  • Tackling deprivation and supporting communities – regeneration activities; low carbon housing; SME competitiveness/start up including social enterprise
  • Growth via the place assets - role of visitor economy (including connections between major tourist attractions), sport/culture, built and natural environment
  • Enterprise Skills for All – Basic Employability; Enterprise Aptitudes; Entrepreneurship; low carbon skills

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