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FIFE TO LOSE OUT ON MILLIONS AS VITAL EU FUNDING COMES TO AN END
Fife is set to lose out on millions of pounds of local funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Structural Fund (ESF) as a result of Brexit.
Large scale projects such as the ongoing Competitiveness, Innovation and Jobs: Business Competitiveness Initiative, Making it Work for Families and the Fife Employability Pathway Initiative, have been funded by grants through both the ERDF and the ESF.
With the UK leaving the European Union in 5 weeks, the money from these schemes, which have been used to invest in infrastructure, connectivity and employment, will no longer be available to the UK.
The funds have been available for more than 40 years and invested £5.6billion in the UK.
During the Brexit negotiations the UK government has announced its intentions to replace the scheme but provided no guidance to the Scottish Government on how it would work. Therefore, the Scottish Government has set out its proposals for a Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund (SSPF).
The SSPF will focus on four key areas to improve – empowering places, reducing poverty, enhancing wellbeing and increasing skills, growing business and jobs.
Commenting, Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth said:
“As we hurtle towards the Brexit trapdoor we are starting to see the devastating impact leaving the EU will have on communities such as Fife.
“Initiatives funded by the ERDF and ESF like the Fife Employability Pathway Initiative have brought real benefits to people here and across Scotland and it is extremely disappointing that we will know longer have access to those funds.
“If the UK government continues on its trajectory of grabbing funding and powers from Scotland then we may never see this money again – the lack of transparency on any future replacement is very worrying.
“Scotland is once again bearing the brunt of a Brexit we did not vote for as we are dragged out of the EU. An independent Scotland within the European Union would still have access to these funding streams.”
- The management and delivery of Fife Council’s Competitiveness, Innovation and Jobs: Business Competitiveness, has been supported by ERDF funding, with a total of over £2 million requested for this project. This operation will significantly increase the assistance available to accelerate the growth of SMEs in Fife by enhancing the pipeline of economic development and Business Gateway support available with a menu of assistance available at key stages. The ERDF funding is supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets. This Operation has been ongoing since April 1 2016 and is set to run until March 31 2023.
- Fife Council’s Making it Work for Families initiative which ran between 1 October 2016 and 31 August 2019 received over £330,000 of grant funding from the ESF. The aims of this initiative were to address poverty and social exclusion by increasing financial awareness capacity and inclusion for disadvantaged households. Support included a dedicated worker to access financial needs and develop an action plan; motivational for the youths; money advice and access to childcare support where necessary. The programme aimed to support active inclusion, including with a view to promoting equal opportunities and active participation.
- The strategic Intervention management, administration and compliance provided by Fife Pathway between 1 April 2015 and 31 December 2018 received over £200,000 of ESF funding.
- The Delivery of the Fife Employability Pathway initiative, received over £8 million of ESF funding between 1 April 2015 and 31 December 2018. The Fife Employability Pipeline aims to provide stages 1-5 support ranging from action plans, training, mentoring, barrier removal and placements, by offering access to employment for job seekers and inactive people, including the long term unemployed: https://fife-etc.org/.
- Full details of Operations and funding approved for the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund programmes referenced above in Fife, totalling over £10.5 million can be viewed here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/esif-operations-funding/
- Glenrothes based business, Creo Engineering received £40,000 of funding from Business Loans Scotland (BLS) to support business expansion and recruitment of employees. This was fully funded through the Scottish Growth Scheme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BLS provides business loans from £25,000 to £100,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): https://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/fife-trio-secures-ps165k-funding-aid-growth-1406447
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