This week the BBC reports that the European Parliament has mostly agreed the EU budget for the seven years of 2014 to 2020 at €960 billion. Agreement rests on an extra €11 billion for 2013 being delivered.
The media headline is that the EU budget for the coming period is lower than it was for the period just ending. However, the EU budget can now roll forward its underspends, which I believe will lead to an increase in spending in the years ahead. Previously each country (member state) received the EU underspend as an end-of-year bonus or refund, and so some at least were incentivised to drag their feet in letting EU programmes get on and spend. But now, effectively, the brakes are off (perhaps a hasty statement in EU budget terms!)
For the North West of England, the allocations of this budget for the EU Structural Funds have been announced in the media as follows, at current exchange rates:
Cheshire & Warrington £122m
Greater Manchester £356m
Liverpool City Region £190m.
Many of the LEPs (local economic partnerships) have stated that they wish to run their own programme teams and systems during this next budgetary period, which some say would be similar to the Action Plan Partnerships arrangements in previous years. LEPs will also have control over various UK economic and regeneration funds, which could be used in part as matching funding if desired locally.