Decision details

Extension of Existing European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme for the Council's current funded Local Enterprise Growth and Efficiency(LEGE) 'Grants4Growth' Programme

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To obtain clear guidance on an opportunity to seek an increase in ERDF funding for the existing LEGE/Grants4Growth Programme to deliver additional outputs.

Decision:

RECOMMEND to Council that the offer of additional funding of £2 million from the East of England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme for the Council’s current Local Enterprise Growth and Efficiency project (LEGE) branded as Grants4Growth be accepted.

Reasons for the decision:

Option B is recommended. The Economic Development service’s track record of delivery and performance under scrutiny/audit mean that DCLG considers the Project and its management/governance/oversight structures to be ‘lower than low risk’. If DCLG is unable to allocate funding before the end of 2013, the funding allocation would be returned to central government and then to the EU Commission.

 

There are likely to be no further opportunities to access additional ERDF funding during the current programme. The LEP-administered operational programmes for the 2014-2020 EU structural funds are unlikely to be in any position to begin allocating funds until late 2014. This proposal represents, therefore, the only real opportunity for capacity building during the immediate future and is clearly aligned to established business demand/need.

Alternative options considered:

Option A: the do-nothing option.

The Project’s management does not apply for £2 million+ of additional funding. The existing ERDF-funded grant pot of £2.54 million will be matched with £5 million+ of private sector investment in growth. A number of significant opportunities to catalyse transformative growth in SMEs will be unrealised.

 

Option B:

Grants4Growth is re-profiled and additional ERDF funding sought. This would increase the size of the grants pot to £4.54 million and leverage £9 million+ of private sector investment. Total ERDF funding would increase from £3,361,423 to £5,396,561, reflecting the £2 million increase in the size of the grants pot and £35,138 to cover additional administrative costs incurred in managing the new supergrant facility (such as salaries/subcontracts to cover the extra responsibilities around investment due diligence, marketing of the facility, travel associated with the grant applications process, and technical consultancy to assist with feasibility work around the specific initiatives being presented for appraisal by the Grants Panel.

 

Report author: Mark Stanton

Publication date: 05/12/2013

Date of decision: 03/12/2013

Decided at meeting: 03/12/2013 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: