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23.10.06
RDA and partners to prioritise £540m EU cash

The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) will take a leading role in the management of about £540 million of EU investment in the region, it was announced today.

The news follows the launch of the Department for Trade and Industry's plans for spending EU structural funds in the UK.

The money is designed to improve the economy by encouraging greater competitiveness and productivity in the region. It will support two new investment programmes, called Competitiveness and Convergence, in South West England for the seven years from 2007 until 2013.

Previously the leading role in the management of EU monies rested with the Government Office for the South West. The changes in responsibility will allow investment to be better aligned with the priorities outlined in the Regional Economic Strategy.

Jane Henderson, Chief Executive of the South West RDA, said: "We will in effect become the champions of this money on behalf of regional partners. Following the clear focus already set out in the Regional Economic Strategy we will ensure European investment builds towards prosperity for the whole region.

"We will now be working with all our partners to determine what and where our collective priorities for investment should be."

The Competitiveness programme is worth around £160m and will be available throughout South West England apart from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, where the Convergence programme worth around £380m will run. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, due to a historically low economic output, is the only county in England to be entitled to investment under the Convergence programme. The South West RDA, along with regional partners such as local councils, the Learning and Skills Councils, Government Office for the South West, and the private and voluntary sectors will identify priorities for investment. A 12-week consultation period starts in early November on the draft operational programmes. These will soon be available on www.southwestrda.org.uk/what-we-do/policy/european-funding-pos.shtm

For further information please contact Pip Hatt of the South West RDA press office on 01392 229567.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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