A splinter of light has been shed on the current uncertainties surrounding the Convergence programme.
The freeze on RDA match funding has been confirmed, but it appears that projects that are receiving private match funding, as is believed to be the case with the Next Generation Broadband project, can proceed.
In a statement issued today by the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, it says that the South West RDA has been provided “some clarification over the ERDF Competitiveness and Convergence Programmes”.
It confirms that the existing freeze on the use of RDA ‘single pot’ as match for new investments will continue and that “there will be close scrutiny of the use of all public sector match funding”. It adds that “there will be greater central scrutiny on the way ERDF is spent”.
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.
The RDA will continue to administer the ERDF programmes until “new arrangements are in place”.
Meanwhile, the Government has also issued its own statement, which reads:
“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.”