Future funding of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes: letter to UK Government

Letter from Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, UK Government’s Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, regarding the future funding of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes.

To: Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 2 Marsham Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 4DF

From: Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work

Subject: The role of European Territorial Cooperation in The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), and access to 2021-2027 ETC programmes

We have been actively seeking information from the UK Government for some time on how European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) will be represented within the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Early indications were that ETC would be taken into account in  proposals for the UKSPF. However, there is little mention in your prospectus for the SPF and I am therefore concerned to establish whether and to what extent you envisage making funds available for this important work. It is our view that at the very least an intra-UK cooperation element should be included to facilitate continuation of the highly successful project partnerships between the nations of the United Kingdom.

Publication of the prospectus for the UKSPF indicates that there is regrettably no funding, nor desire, to develop and continue the fruitful cooperation initiatives currently represented within ETC programmes. Scottish Ministers believe that the UK Government should commit financially to participation in ETC programmes for the 2021-2027 financial framework. I understand that a robust, positive business case to this effect was prepared by the then MHCLG and BEIS, with a strong recommendation going to HMT to allocate funding for continued participation in ETC programmes.

Scottish organisations are strong and valued partners in ETC projects and have to date been awarded over £72.5 million under the 2014-2020 programmes – which with partner funding has helped deliver some £150 million of project activity in Scotland. These projects cover a wider range of areas, contributing to a number of different Scottish Government policy priorities, with projects ranging from supporting people with Alzheimer’s living in rural areas, to enabling industry to develop innovative solutions in renewable energy.

I look forward to clarification on whether you intend to ensure that funding for ETC will be protected within or outwith the UKSPF.

I am copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, Iain Stewart MP, as well as our colleagues Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government and Conor Murphy, Minster for Finance in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Richard Lochhead

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