Rural development grants available to farmers, foresters,
community enterprises and rural-based businesses.
LEADER is funding to improve the rural economy and quality of life for people living and working in the North Wessex Downs.

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Update on future of LEADER funding

Aug 22, 2016 | General | DawnH

If you are thinking of applying for LEADER funding please read this:


Since the referendum vote to leave the EU the future of EU funded grant programmes has been somewhat uncertain. Since the vote LEADER programmes have been able to continue to progress applications but have not been allowed to communicate funding decisions or agree contracts with applicants.  We have been waiting for these restrictions to be lifted whilst the Government has been assessing the situation and the potential financial liabilities of a number of funding programmes which fall within the Common Agricultural Policy, LEADER included.

We have now heard that we are allowed to communicate decisions and issue contracts but we need to do this before the Autumn Statement - contracts agreed and signed before the Autumn Statement will be honoured even if they extend beyond England’s actual exit from the EU.   However, the position beyond the Statement is very unclear and we will not know more until the Statement is made, the date of which has not yet been set; in the last two years this has been mid-November but it could be sooner or later, we don’t know at this stage.

This means we have a very short window now to be able to get projects processed, decisions made and contracts agreed to guarantee funding.   Our priority is to help those who have already submitted or are working on Full Applications but we are very conscious that there are others who are currently working on Outline Applications.  

If this is you please contact the Programme Manager as soon as possible to discuss your plans and timeframes for making an application.  We can then let you know whether we think we can process both application stages in time for when we think the Autumn Statement might be.  If this looks unlikely then you will need to decide whether you apply anyway taking the risk that LEADER may or may not have a future after the Statement.

Our current Full Application Decision Panels are set for 20th September (deadline was 9th August) and 13th December (this may be too late) but we will hold an additional Panel in mid-October and mid-November if we have projects ready  for decisions and still feel we can agree contracts before the Autumn Statement is made.  We cannot short cut the Full Application appraisal / approval processes so we still need at least 6 weeks to get through these.  

We look forward to hearing from you. 


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