Norfolk County Council secures ground-breaking EU deal to bring jobs, investment and greater influence to the county

Just Regional
Jul 8, 2013 4 mins read

Norfolk County Council has today (Monday July 8th) been named as manager of a 350m Euros cross-border EU programme between France and England, in a move that will create highly skilled jobs in Norfolk, boost investment and enhance the profile and influence of the county in Europe.

The County Council is to become programme manager for the France (Channel) – England Interreg Programme (F(C)E), that will support the UK and France to deliver economic growth in an area stretching hundreds of miles from Cornwall to The Wash.


Norfolk was one of four authorities that expressed interest in managing the programme. The Authority learned this week that it has beaten off a strong challenge from Devon County Council for the right to administer the fund for the next seven years.


When Norfolk takes over the reins in January, it will be the first time ever that an English County Council has become a programme manager for a European Territorial Cooperation Programme. It will run the programme for an area covering a dozen counties across South and Eastern England, as well as a swathe of northern France


As well as creating highly skilled jobs in Norfolk**, the contract will provide an investment of around £12m into the Norfolk economy and generate opportunities for Norfolk companies to deliver work for the programme.


George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a major vote confidence in the County Council. No English public body has been asked to handle this project before and the fact that Norfolk was the choice of both the British and French Governments is massive vindication of our standing as an authority.


“We will be responsible for allocating major international projects from the Wash to Land’s End and from the Pas-de-Calais to Cape Finisterre. At a time when we have had to put up with so many negative stories about local government it is a real shot in the arm for us here in Norfolk to win this prestigious and financially significant project. I am immensely proud of Norfolk, as we all should be today.”


There will be a number of possible themes for the 2014 programme, including: promoting investment in innovation and research, product and service development, social innovation and public services; low carbon research, innovation and adoption; innovation in environmental protection, resource efficiency and green growth and support for social enterprises.


The current programme, which has been managed by the region of Haute Normandie in northern France since 2007, funds nearly 130 co-operation projects between France and England, and involves around 500 different organisations on both sides of the Channel.


Norfolk County Council’s Economic Programmes Team submitted the winning bid for management of the programme earlier this month and were chosen by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and their French equivalent DATAR.


Norfolk County Council will have responsibility for managing a budget worth 350m Euros (over £300m*) including EU grants and local match funding. The Authority will allocate grants to projects from Norfolk to Cornwall, in the UK, and from Finisterre to Pas-de-Calais in France. It is anticipated that bringing the Managing Authority function to Norfolk will improve accessibility to the programme and simplify the processes for organisations who wish to bid for funds.


The news represents a further boost for Norfolk County Council’s Economic Programmes team, who developed the bid and have delivered over £60m worth of funding to Norfolk over the last five years.


Andy Wood chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “The LEP and our partners are keen to ensure that we secure as much funding as possible from Europe to help strengthen our economy and support the creation of new jobs. Last month the Government confirmed the role New Anglia LEP will play in overseeing around £81m of European funding over the next seven years.


“This announcement builds on this and is certain to lead to additional funding being made available for our area. Norfolk County Council should be given great credit in securing this key role.”


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