European Union Funding 2014-2020

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The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the European Union’s main funding programmes for supporting growth and jobs. The funds cover mainly revenue activity but there is some scope to support capital projects. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment and create jobs as well as promote energy efficiency and protect the environment. All projects and activities supported must show a clear and sustainable contribution to national and local growth agendas and priorities.

For more information and background on EU funding in the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire area please click on the relevant EU logo below

ESIF Funding Opportunities


The outcome of the EU referendum in 2016 now means that the UK will relinquish its membership and leave the EU by the end of March 2019. However before the BREXIT date, EU funding still has a significant role to play in realising the LEP’s growth plans and help to make Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire a more prosperous place.

Originally, ESIF programmes were to run from 2014-2023. BREXIT now means that the end date will be much earlier. However the UK Government has maintained a commitment to honour all ESIF funded projects and programmes made under the ESIF programmes, provided that funding contracts are in place by the time of BREXIT, even if projects and activities continue to deliver beyond the BREXIT date.

What’s on offer from ESIF?

In the UK the current phase ESIF funds are worth approximately £6 billion. Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire’s share of this amounts to just over £130 million. Access to EU funding will no longer be available after BREXIT although some government funded succession economic growth programmes are expected to be introduced to compensate and should be available in Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire.

LEPs still have a key part to play in the delivery of the ESIF programmes and the detail of how ESIF will contribute to local priorities for jobs and growth across the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire LEP area, is contained in the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire LEP ESIF Strategy . The ESIF strategy and the supporting Skills Investment Plan and ESF Programme Overview are located in the Resources section of the SSLEP website and can also be accessed here.

ESIF consists of 3 main programmes:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

  • European Social Fund (ESF)

  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)]

All three funds are available across the SSLEP area

ERDF – approximately £72m – covering R&D and Innovation; Business Support; ICT; Low Carbon and Environmental Protection themes
ESF – approximately £55m – covering Skills, Employment and Social Inclusion themes
EAFRD – approximately £3m – covering rural business support across manufacturing, tourism and food & drink sectors (rural areas only)
The funds cover mainly revenue activity but there is some scope to support capital projects. All projects and activities supported must show a clear and sustainable contribution to national and local growth agendas and priorities.
Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire is one of 11 areas of the UK to be given EU Transition area status, recognising the specific economic and social challenges facing parts of the LEP area. This means that ERDF and ESF can intervene at a higher level (60%) compared to non Transition areas (50%). EAFRD intervention is set at 40%.
Further detail on the themes and criteria for each ESIF fund can be found via the following link to the government’s ESIF web pages

ESIF progress so far

A significant proportion of the current programme of ESIF funding, available to Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire, is already committed to projects and programmes and are supporting key infrastructure schemes and delivering support initiatives to help businesses start and grow and develop skills levels as well as tackling barriers to employment.

Examples of Stoke and Staffordshire projects supported by the ESIF funds can be found in the case studies section.

However there still will be other bidding opportunities throughout the rest of 2017 and into 2018. To find out more on calls currently open and how to apply, access the government’s ESIF webpages via this link .

ESIF Governance

The ESIF programme in Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire is directed and managed by the LEP’s ESIF Committee. Terms of Reference, agendas and minutes of the ESIF Committee can be viewed via this link (insert links to documents)

Further ESIF information

Government publishes regular ESIF partner updates providing the latest national information on programme progress. The latest and back issues of updates can be accessed via this link.

For further information on the ESIF programmes, click here for FAQs and a helpful ESIF ‘jargon buster’.