Autumn Statement and Implications for LEADER funding

There has been much uncertainty regarding funding sourced from the EU since the referendum in June.  However, both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity recently announced that EU funding which is committed prior to this year’s Autumn Statement would be honoured and guaranteed.  The Autumn Statement has now been set as the 23 November 2016.

We have been advised by the Scottish Government (the Managing Authority for LEADER in Scotland), that following the Autumn Statement there will be a period of uncertainty when LEADER programmes will be unable to commit to projects until they are advised by government that they can continue.  This is to give Scottish Government time to understand the implication of the Autumn Statement for LEADER and the consider the future of LEADER.

This means we will be unable to guarantee that funds will be available after our closing date on 28th September 2016, until we hear the outcome of the Scottish Government’s analysis of the Autumn Statement and its impact on LEADER, which will not be until the new year.

In the interim, LEADER Local Action Groups will be able to offer ‘Intentions to Fund’ subject to the funding being confirmed as available to them. The Local Action Group is very aware that this might not be enough certainty for any projects that need to be delivered in the short term or projects where certainty of funding is important in the short term.  With this in mind Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER LAG has decided to hold an extra meeting prior to the November cut-off to allow for as many projects as possible to access the guaranteed funding.

If your project is close to readiness to making a LEADER application, and you would prefer to have the certainty of the funds being available, then we would advise that you submit an Expression of Interest as soon as possible with a view to submitting a full application by the 28th September 2016 deadline.