The LEP has welcomed an announcement from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that a further €2.8 million (£2.2 million) will be allocated to the county from European Funds for the period 2015-2020.
The money is from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development and comes from Common Agricultural Policy direct payments. It is specifically intended for businesses in rural areas, including farming, who will be able to apply for funding of activities that support Worcestershire LEP’s wider European Structural and Investment Funds Strategy.
Particular priority areas identified by the Government include:
- Building knowledge and skills in rural areas;
- Funding new, and developing non-agricultural, micro, small and medium sized rural businesses;
- Funding small scale renewable and broadband investments in rural areas;
- Supporting tourism activities in rural areas.
The funding is in addition to the notional allocation of €68.1 million (£56 million) for Worcestershire announced by the Government last June.
Worcestershire LEP will be delivering its final European Funds strategy to Government by the end of January 2014, having received favourable feedback on its draft proposals submitted in October 2013.
Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of Worcestershire LEP, says: “Worcestershire has important rural areas, interests and businesses and, as such, we welcome any additional funding streams that recognise the particular challenges faced by rurally based businesses. We are working closely with partners to develop appropriate strategies to maximise the benefit of these EU funding streams. We have consulted widely and feel confident that our final strategy document will secure at least the notional funding allocation for the county.”