The VS6 Update on European Funding for the Liverpool City Region

VS6 met on October 10th for an update on European funding for the VCSE sector in Liverpool city region. Here’s a summary of what was revealed on the day.

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Five more years of ESF and ERDF, even if there is no deal

The UK Government has guaranteed that funding for the current programme (2014-20) will continue to the end (i.e. until 2023), even if we leave Europe with no deal.

Half Way

Now that we are half way through the European Programmes, funding for the second part is being announced and agreed, and there are revisions to the Regulations and to the Operational Programmes.

YEI additional funding agreed

Finally, extensions for ESF-YEI programmes have been agreed (supporting NEET young people under the age of 30). In some cases, these are extensions in time, in others, extensions in time and money.

This brings the total ESF directly allocated to the VCFSE in Liverpool CR to almost 40% (£25 million of £65m), not counting indirect funding, through local authorities etc.

BBO lottery extensions

On 25th September, Big Lottery agreed to allocate more funds for the ESF-BLF projects, supporting extensions in time or in time and money. This will still need the support of the LEP level ESIF committees, and a letter was sent out to the Chairs on 26th, with the projects being emailed directly.

ESFA further funding

ESFA has found additional match funding to the end of the Programme, and issued calls in August for those on its tender list. This was for a total of £323 million across England (including £43m for social capital community grants). For Liverpool CR nothing was allocated for P1.1 or P2.1 (education and skills), but there was £2.250 for NEET young people, and £2.7 for Community Grants. Successful bidders are likely to be known at the beginning or 2019, with projects starting in April. The LCR allocations were less than for the other areas in the North West. Liverpool CR was intending to announce more calls, but withdrew them for further consideration once the ESFA said it would provide more cash.

ERDF calls

These went out for most of England on 5th October. But not for Liverpool CR - it is expecting calls later on through its Intermediate Body status.

More money

It has finally been agreed that LEP level allocations can be raised to take account of the devaluation a couple of years ago following the referendum. (ESF and ERDF programmes are agreed in Euros). This will give an extra eleven per cent of further funding, so over £600 million will be available across England. Liverpool CR was sent a provisional revised allocation for ESF on 14th September (now a total of £103m ESF) - the money needs to be committed (not spent) within the next year.

UK-Shared Prosperity Fund

This will replace the £9.7billion for ESF and ERDF we receive from Europe, with UK money if we leave. The Government’s Manifesto said that it would be to reduce inequalities. However, a recent Statement has contradicted this, saying that it will be to increase productivity (and this will trickle down to reduce inequalities). A paper has been published about how to make the LEPs fit for purpose, with them having a single goal of increasing productivity. It refers to the Peterborough/ Cambridge issue, and how to make the LEPs accountable - for example charging for membership (which Liverpool LEP does) will be abolished, to increase involvement for all.

There have been pre-consultation meetings for the UK-SPF taking place. A Green Paper for consultation is promised before the end of 2018.

European Week of Regions and Cities

This annual event is taking place now, with around six thousand people looking at what has been achieved with European Funding, best practice, and planning for the future. There has been considerable discussion around solidarity, bottom up development, more citizens involvement, and tackling the growth of extremism. Partnership and Simplification continue to be key issues.