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Mayor Calls For Government To Replace Vital European Funds
- Huge funding pot to come to an end with Brexit
- Sadiq says replacement funds must not be treated as a “power grab by Whitehall”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called on the Government on 21 September to say how it will replace vital funding that benefits the capital that will be lost once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Organisations now have a final chance to apply for a share of £22m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – but once Brexit takes place, these funds will no-longer be available.
The ERDF helps to stimulate economic development and growth by supporting innovative jobs and growth projects targeted at small businesses. It is also used to find environmental projects that benefit the capital, including schemes that encourage low-carbon technology.
As well as calling on ministers to replace these ERDF funds, Sadiq also wants to ensure that the capital continues to have control over how they are spent and that the government does not take over responsibility and centralise the money.
So far, 33 projects in London are benefitting from more than £50m of ERDF funding, received since 2016 – helping to grow small businesses, improve the environment, create jobs and deliver economic prosperity for the whole country. Seven further projects worth £12m are in contract negotiations. A further £75m will be invested in loans to entrepreneurs and to make London’s businesses more energy efficient.
Examples of projects that have benefitted from ERDF include:
- a scheme run by Brunel University that connects small businesses to university researchers so that they can design, develop and test new products;
- a British Library scheme that helps start -ups protect their intellectual property;
- and the Mayor's RE:FIT scheme that works to retrofit public buildings in order to make them more energy efficient.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London has benefitted enormously over recent years through European funding streams such as this and I have vowed to do all I can to protect our great city from the impact of Brexit.
“While we need the Government to secure a sensible Brexit that protects jobs and growth, we also need a commitment that they will replace these vital funds.
“One of the reasons that this fund has been so successful is because we are able to distribute money where it is most needed. It is vital that this must not be a power grab for Whitehall and the capital remains in control of the replacement funds.”
Up to £22m of ERDF is now available – if sufficient high-quality applications are received, this will be the final tranche of funding before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union next year.
In the capital, these funds are overseen by the London Economic Action Partnership – an organisation chaired by the Mayor and is responsible for delivering economic growth across London and ensuring that opportunities are open to all Londoners.
One organisation that has benefitted is the Enterprise Enfield Agency which has received more than £500,000 to provide business mentoring support and work space to support women, including those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and disabled women, to overcome barriers for either starting a business or sustaining an early stage business, including social enterprises.
Despina Johnson, Enterprise Enfield’s Chief Executive, said: “Here in Enfield, we know that there are plenty of businesses with excellent ideas who need a little bit of support, whether it is mentoring or financial, to maximise their potential.
“I am proud that Enterprise Enfield has been able to help many of these businesses reach their goals and I know that much of the help we have been able to offer has been a direct result of the ERDF funding that we received.”