Over £365 million of European Union grant funding has been received in Norfolk and Suffolk, a report by the East of England European Partnership has revealed.
The report, commissioned by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, examines the potential consequences of a loss of funding across the two counties following last summer’s Brexit vote.
The report finds that over £365 million worth of EU grant funding and £1.54 billion of finance through the European Investment Bank has been received into Norfolk and Suffolk to stimulate economic growth since 2007, leveraging a total investment of a least £7.34 billion.
The research includes funding through key programmes including European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the 7th Framework Research Programme (FP7), Horizon 2020 research and innovation programmes and the Connecting Europe Facility (transport funding), but does not include agricultural subsidies through the Single Payment Scheme. The research covers two EU programming periods – 2007-13 and 2014-2020. Given the focus of the research on specific programmes, it is likely that the actual figure is much higher.
The research outlines that the region’s strengths in agri- and bio-sciences, telecommunications and the creative sectors have helped to attract €106million (about £91.8million) through FP7 and Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation programmes.
Infrastructure has also had considerable EU support, with the TEN-T transport policy having resulted in about £126million of funding and finance being invested into projects such as improving Felixstowe’s rail terminal and upgrading the A14.
It is also estimated that about €1.8billion (£1.5billion) worth of finance has been invested directly into the area by the European Investment Bank. This has leveraged a further investment of approximately €6.5billion (£5.6billion) in projects such as procuring new rolling stock for Abellio Greater Anglia.
The Local Enterprise Partnership, working with other partners such as the County Councils, will use this research to evaluate existing programmes and identify potential future gaps in business support provision. They will continue to present evidence to Government on the importance of continued investment in local and regional economies when the UK finally leaves the EU. While the Government has provided assurances that the European funding currently available to Norfolk and Suffolk will be maintained until we leave, there is still work to do locally and nationally to understand how such funding will be replaced.
Chris Starkie, Managing Director of New Anglia LEP, said: “We’ve commissioned this research to look at the potential economic impact of Brexit on our region.
“We knew that European funding was important to our economy so we wanted to be able to see this full picture to assess what the potential impact of leaving the EU could be. It means we’re now well informed to be able to look at where funding of equivalent value might come from in future.
“This research will help to form part of the evidence base for our new Economic Strategy and to support negotiations with Government on the continued importance of investing in regional growth post-Brexit.”
Jonathan Millins, Head of the East of England European Partnership, said: “The report highlights the importance and value of European funding to the New Anglia LEP area.
“The report provides businesses, universities, councils and the voluntary sector with a strong evidence base on which to be able to discuss with Government the future of funding for vital growth promoting projects post-Brexit. The East of England European Partnership is working with all partners to ensure the East of England receives a fair deal from the Brexit negotiations.”
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