(04 September 2017) – Britain has guaranteed funding for beneficiaries of EU regional funds until the end of the current EU budget in 2020. But for the leaders of many research, education and employment programmes, life after Brexit is still a source of anxiety, as it is the case in Wales.
Wales receives the most EU structural funding per capita of any UK region, absorbing 22% of all funds for around 4% of the total population. Almost one in four (23%) people in Wales live in poverty, according to the Welsh Assembly, and the work of organisations like the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) is vital in bringing opportunities to the most deprived populations.
Tessa White, the WVCA’s head of grants, told EurActiv.com that EU structural funds “absolutely” had a positive impact on the organisation’s work. “They help us ensure that money gets to local organisations that work with hard-to-reach people,” she said, citing the Active Inclusion Fund, a €6.5m ESF-supported programme aimed at bringing low-skilled, long-term unemployed and economically excluded people into work.
But the WCVA is concerned about the future. “We have had no assurances beyond the current budget,” White said. “Depravation and rural poverty will continue to be an issue in Wales but we will need to find different sources of funding.” (EurActiv)