Objective One milestone as more projects are approved
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and Scilly has hit a major milestone with the news that the amount of grant funding spent so far has reached £26.7 million.
That means Objective One has already hit its £25 million spend target for 2002 set by Europe, and that any more funding spent this year can count towards performance targets for 2003.
The news came at the June meeting of the Objective One Working Group, which meets about every six weeks to review progress and recommend Objective One projects for funding approval.
Bill Bawden, Objective One programme director, said: “We said we would hit this spending milestone for 2002, and we’re delighted to have done so. But we can’t be complacent. Our emphasis must remain on ensuring that we attract quality funding bids for projects that will make a significant long-term contribution to Cornwall’s economy, and in ensuring that successful projects claim their grant funding in a timely fashion.”
The Objective One spend figure has been boosted by the £20 million Finance Cornwall initiative, which was recently approved for £9 million of Objective One funding. That money has now been drawn down from Europe and counts towards Cornwall’s spend total.
Finance Cornwall will be a major venture capital and loan fund for businesses in Cornwall and is being supported with more than £10 million from Barclays Bank. It is expected to create around 2,500 jobs by assisting some 500 businesses. Staff are currently being recruited, and the fund will be officially launched later this year.
June’s Working Group recommended 10 new Objective One projects for approval, worth £4.7 million, of which some £2 million will come from Objective One.
This means 256 projects have now been approved for £137 million of Objective One funding in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly.
Objective One spend
The European Commission sets targets for Cornwall’s Objective One programme to meet, including the rate at which Objective One funding is spent by projects that have been approved for funding. Most projects draw down their funding quarterly in arrears, so there is always a considerable gap between the amount of grant allocated, and the amount that has been spent. The spend target for Cornwall’s Objective One programme in 2002 was £25 million, and includes the £9 million allocated to Finance Cornwall. Because this is an umbrella fund, it draws down all of its funding in one go, so this counts towards the spend target.
In 2003, the Objective One programme must spend an additional £49 million, and any monies spent above this year’s target can be rolled over into next year to count towards that target. If the programme hits the 2003 target, it then qualifies for a performance bonus worth around £12 million.
Finance Cornwall is £20 million business investment fund providing a mixture of loans and equity for business proposals that would not normally be able to obtain all of the required finance from traditional sources.
Similar funds have been set up in all four Objective One areas of the UK with the support of Barclays Bank.
Now that Objective One funding has been secured, Finance Cornwall is in the process of recruiting staff and preparing the necessary support materials for an official launch later this year.
Please contact Robin Teverson, Finance Cornwall Chief Executive, on 01872 272288 for more information.
Objective One Partnership Office
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