New year resolution to exceed spending target
Cornwall’s Objective One Programme is well on track to hitting this year’s spending target, despite being just a few days into the New Year.
The amount of Objective One money that has now been spent in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is determined by the rate at which approved projects progress and draw down their grant, is £7.61 million.
This is well on the way to hitting the 2002 target of £25 million that has been set by the European Commission.
And with a number of large projects in the pipeline during 2002, including a £26 million bid by the Combined Universities in Cornwall, the programme is confident of not only hitting its target but exceeding it.
Objective One programme director Bill Bawden said: “The programme’s rate of spend is really starting to accelerate as more and more approved projects come on stream and start to draw down their grant.
“Last September we had spent £4.2 million, by early November it was £6 million and now we’re at £7.6 million, so the pace is beginning to pick up. I want to make a New Year’s resolution to exceed our spending target for 2002 and I’m confident we’ll do it.
“But we cannot afford to be complacent. It’s essential that projects draw down their funding at the appropriate time because in 2003 we have to spend a further £49 million and if we hit that target we’ll qualify for a performance bonus worth around £12 million. The watchword, of course, must always be quality, and we will never sacrifice quality for the sake of spend.”
In December the Objective One Programme reached a major milestone when the value of Objective One grants earmarked for projects passed the £100 million mark.
There are now 174 projects that have been approved or are recommended for approval, with a total value of more than £220 million. A further 95 projects are under appraisal, seeking a total of £55 million of Objective One funding.
The rate of spend is always behind the level of funding committed to projects because applicants generally have to claim grants in arrears using receipts for money spent up front. Some projects are also long-term and may not spend their total funding allocation for two or three years.
If Cornwall’s Objective One Programme exceeds its £25 million spending target this year, that ‘overspend’ can count against next year’s target of £49 million.
If spending targets are missed then the programme could be forced to hand back the shortfall to the European Commission for distribution to other structural fund areas in Europe.
Objective One Partnership Office
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