Convergence – Update

A lot of people will not be overly worried on the rumours of Convergence Funding as they will think it will not effect them. In a lot of cases they are right. For those who are interested in this subject here is the latest information I have from the Leader of Cornwall Council.

 As of the 16 July, the position has now been confirmed as the following:
  1. RDAs will continue to administer ERDF until new arrangements are in place. It is important that effective spending controls are in place over bodies that are being wound down, therefore the existing moratorium remains on RDAs providing match funding from their “single pot” where this goes into the 2011/12 financial year and beyond.
  1. CLG will introduce additional checks to ensure that the way that ERDF is spent over the next few months remains affordable and preserves flexibility for successor organisations.
  1. The position on the ESF part of the programme remains unchanged for the time being.  We are awaiting further clarification on this.
The official Government statement is as follows:
“The future of the ERDF programme has never been in doubt. But the fact is that the RDAs are in the process of being wound down, so it is only proper that spending control is exercised, particularly during the course of a spending review. The moratorium on match-funding from the RDA single pot will therefore remain in place, to ensure only exceptional new spending commitments are made.

Going forward, levels of ERDF commitment will be monitored to ensure they offer affordability and the flexibility for projects to be developed by local authorities and others after the RDAs have been abolished. Projects in pipeline that do not involve single pot match-funding will continue to progress through existing procedures, subject to the monitoring set out above.

Future and transitional arrangements will be set out in the white paper on sub national growth, expected later this year”.

This position has been achieved after much work and lengthy discussions between Cornwall Council, our MP’s, and with strong support from officers at the RDA and GOSW.  
So, what that means for Cornwall is that projects which do NOT require RDA match funding can progress through the European Funding process.  This will include those investments with private sector investment and those prioritised by Cornwall Council.  Examples include Next Generation Broadband (currently going through as a major project in the European Commission), Hayle Harbour, Heartlands and significant private led schemes across Cornwall.
It will however mean that further discussion is needed with Central Government over the future match-funding position of the European Programmes in Cornwall.  We will continue to work with our MPs and partners to lobby strongly for funding and we should have every confidence that we will continue to be successful.

So there you have it. Feel free to discuss it.

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