The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is asking local organisations to get involved in work to understand the impact the loss of EU funding will have on the Humber and help make the case for the funding to be replaced.
The research, which was announced at the LEP’s AGM this morning, will look at how EU structural funds have been used in the past, the pros and cons of the funding’s objectives and rules, and lessons learned.
The results will be used as part of the case for the Humber to have replacement funding in the future. The Government has announced its intention to create a “United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund”, with consultation on this expected to take place in the coming months. The LEP Board wants to ensure that this funding works for the Humber’s needs and the area is allocated a fair proportion of it.
The work will build on engagement the LEP has been doing with businesses since the EU Referendum to understand their concerns and opportunities linked to Brexit, which has already been fed in to Ministers.
The LEP works with Government departments to invest £88m of European structural funds allocated to the Humber in the current programme, which had been due to run to 2020. The Government has promised to guarantee funding for projects contracted before Brexit.
Figures released alongside the LEP’s annual report today revealed that 50% of the funding has now been contracted for delivery, with 30% more in progress. This is understood to be considerably higher than most areas. Projects include support for business finance, innovation and growth, flood defence and environmental improvements, support to raise skills levels and support to help people into work.
LEP Board member Isobel Mills CBE, who also chairs the local committee advising the Government on the funding, said: “European structural funds have made valuable investments in business, infrastructure and people around the Humber, but they are not without their difficulties. We want to hear about the good and the bad from people with first-hand experience, and their views on how the replacement funding should work. We will use this to seek to ensure the approach the Government takes works for the Humber.”