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Greater Manchester to get control of £300m European funding

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Control over how £300m European funding is spent in Greater Manchester is to be handed over to local leaders in the latest extension of the region’s devolution deal.

The agreement has not yet been confirmed by the government but LGC understands members sitting on the combined authority, as opposed to the elected mayor once in place, will get to decide how the money is spent across the region between April next year and 2020.

The money being devolved to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority comes from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Rules dictate the funding must be spent on projects which will create jobs, improve skills, boost business and encourage economic growth.

The Treasury declined to comment.

Cornwall Council was granted the same authority – known as intermediate body status – to determine how £422m of European funding should be spent on projects in the county when its devolution deal was announced in July.

The Greater London Authority is the only other organisation in the country to have intermediate body status.

Last week the Department for Communities & Local Government announced it was open for bids for how a share of about £5bn European funding should be spent in different parts of the country. Areas were told successful bids would be based on local enterprise partnership priorities.

Regional development agencies used to be responsible for the distribution of European funding but they were scrapped in 2012. Their role was replaced by local enterprise partnerships but they are not recognised as statutory bodies. As a result, the European funds are being held by central government which will decide how the money is spent.


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