The effectiveness to the Scottish economy of European funding with an overall value of €940m*, and its post-Brexit replacement, will be two key issues for an upcoming Holyrood Committee inquiry.
The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee wants to hear the views and concerns of individuals, businesses and organisations as it commences its inquiry into how European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are currently used to support economic development in Scotland, at both a national and regional level; and what should replace ESIFs once the UK exits the European Union.
European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) support public bodies such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, local authorities and some of the work of the Scottish Government itself for a wide range of activities, including skills and training programmes, research and development, support to business and the development of infrastructure.
Convener of the Committee, Gordon Lindhurst MSP commented:
“ESIFs aim to achieve EU priorities in areas such as employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate change and renewable energy.
“The Committee wants to ‘follow the money’, by hearing the views of the Scottish Government and local government, as well as those individuals, businesses and organisations who are impacted by ESIF funding.”
Mr Lindhurst continued:
“Key questions for the committee are: How is the 2014-2020 funding being spent, which areas have benefitted and have there been any issues? How are the funds being evaluated as value for money? How could any future replacement of ESIFs be used to improve employment, infrastructure and productivity in Scotland’s regions? And what opportunities and risks are presented by any replacement fund or programme for ESIFs?”
The Committee’s call for evidence closes on Friday 13 April 2018. On completion of its scrutiny, the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee will share its findings with the Scottish Government.
*Between 2014 and 2020, €941 million has been allocated towards support for economic development in Scotland. So far, around 50% has been committed to projects. Match-funding from the Scottish public sector means the ESIFs could result in an overall investment of around €1.9 billion in the Scottish economy over the course of the 2014-2020 period. The Scottish Government distributes funds to lead partners, such as policy directorates, agencies and local authorities, who provide match funding and then distribute funding to individual projects and organisations.
The Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee scrutinises a broad range of topics within the remit of the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work including energy policy, the impact of the UK vote to leave the EU, fair work and other matters relating to the Scottish economy. It comes to a view after taking evidence from, and engaging with, a wide range of stakeholders ‘on the frontline’ and applies authoritative, expert, effective and influential scrutiny to policy.
Photographs of the Committee and Convener are available free of charge.
Call for views – European Structural and Investment Funds inquiry
The Committee has issued a general call for views on Thursday 15 February, the topic of this inquiry being European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIFs).
ESIFs currently help fund a number of economic development programmes in Scotland, supporting public bodies such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, local authorities and some of the work of the Scottish Government itself for a wide range of activities, including skills and training programmes, research and development, support to business and the development of infrastructure.
Over the course of May and June this year, the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee will hold an inquiry into ESIFs and what could replace these once the UK leaves the European Union.
The Committee has agreed the following remit:
“To understand how European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are currently used to support economic development in Scotland, at both a regional and local level. This will help inform the committee’s views on, and develop ideas for, what should replace ESIFs once the UK exits the European Union.”
The Committee therefore wants to hear the views and experiences of as many people, businesses and organisations as possible, so it is now seeking written submissions on the following themes.
Current spending priorities and approval processes:
Bearing in mind that Structural Funds are governed by EU rules and regulations:
1. How the Scottish Government identified and agreed spending priorities for its current ESIF allocations.
2. The processes the Scottish Government went through with the European Commission to gain approval for its ESIF plans.
3. The involvement of SG agencies, local authorities and the third sector at this stage of the process.
4. How the differing needs of Scotland’s regions are accounted for in the current range of ESIF programmes.
5. How the 2014-2020 programme funding is being spent, which areas have benefitted and any issues with these commitments or processes.
6. Understanding current accountability and reporting issues.
7. How current and previous programmes are evaluated and any suggested improvements to the evaluation process.
8. How any future replacement of ESIFs could be used to improve employment, infrastructure and productivity in Scotland’s regions.
9. Which level of government is best placed to decide how future funding is allocated and what accountability processes should be in place?
10. What are the potential opportunities and risks presented by any replacement fund or programme for ESIFs?
Please respond to those questions most relevant to you and your organisation; however also feel free to submit any additional information which is not covered by these themes.
How to submit written evidence
Before making a submission, please read our policy on treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory Committees. In line with that policy, submissions will normally be published on our website.
Written submissions should be reasonably brief and typewritten in Word format (preferably no more than 4-6 sides of A4 in total).
The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Friday 13 April 2018.
Owing to the timescales normally required for the processing and analysis of evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the advance agreement of the clerk.
The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically. These should be sent to:
Hard copies may be directed to:
Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee