Merseyside Objective 1 Programme

United Kingdom

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The European Union will actively participate in the development of the Merseyside region by co-financing the Objective 1 programme for the area during 2000-2006. The region is situated in North West England, bordered by Wales and adjacent to Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire. The programme amounts to total cost of around EUR 3298 million, of which the EU Structural Funds will provide EUR 1333 million.

1. Action Priorities

The programme revolves around four priority areas and technical assistance measures.

Priority 1: Developing Business
The focus of this Priority is on business and competitiveness. The aim is to improve the economy of Merseyside and the wealth generation activity of its residents through the creation of a competitive, knowledge driven economy, focussed on entrepreneurship, business competitiveness, and world-class management skills. Actions will be explicitly targeted towards companies having the capacity to expand and develop, and towards identified growth sectors within the Merseyside economy and new business generation.

Priority 2: Developing People
This priority aims to develop the existing and potential workforce in Merseyside through lifelong learning, job creation and entrepreneurship - particularly by developing the skills and activities people require to start up small businesses, and positive action to increase female participation in and facilitate equal access to the labour market.

Priority 3  : Developing Locations
The focus of priority 3 is to concentrate Structural Funds investment in defined geographic areas that demonstrate the greatest potential to generate economic and employment growth in the period 2000-2006. Transport links and strategic spatial development will be equally combined with marketing activities and efforts to enhance the attractiveness of designated areas in the region.

Priority 4  : Developing Pathways Communities
Priority 4 consists of a package of measures to regenerate defined areas of greatest need ("Pathways communities"), reduce social and economic disparities between them and the rest of Merseyside and build sustainable communities. These measures will include support for lifelong learning for people in work, support for self-employment and local job creation initiatives, and actions to integrate socially excluded groups into the labour market.

Technical Assistance : Measures will be equally provided to assist with the management of, information on, implementation of, control and evaluation of all aspects of the programme.

2. Description of the eligible areas

The 1.4 million residents of Merseyside live in the five local authorities of Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral in an area of 655 square kilometres. Diminishing employment opportunities have led to a demographic decline, especially among the young, economically active groups.

Although a thriving port location in the 19th century, the regional economy has suffered relative and absolute decline for a century. However, recent signs show that the economy is stabilising. Following the decline of the port and its related industries, the service industry now dominates the economy. Significant concentrations exist in the retail and wholesale sectors, in finance and business. Merseyside has sector strengths in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, call centres, creative and media industries, leisure and tourism, and business services and has a number of world class companies. There is a high rate of SME business start ups but large employers remain crucial to the Merseyside economy.

GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the UK, standing at some 70% of the national average [2000 figure]. Unemployment has been decreasing, but not at the same high rate as nationally. Although the region has relatively low educational and vocational attainment rates, there are an estimated 60,000 students involved in higher and further education in the area and positive links exist between higher education institutions and the region's industry and commerce.

3. Management and contact details

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister [ODPM] will act as the Managing Authority for the Merseyside Objective 1 programme, and will delegate its day-to-day administration to the Government Office for the North West (Merseyside), a regional office integrating a number of central government departments.

A Monitoring Committee will be appointed by the Managing Authority comprising of the principal regional partners, including the Government, the private sector, the voluntary sector, economic and social partners, members of local authorities, and those representing environmental and equal opportunities interests. The Government Office will provide the Secretariat for the programme.

Financial and Technical information

Merseyside Objective 1 Programme

Intervention Type

Single Programming Document

CCI no

1999GB161DO002

Number of decision

C(2004)5350

Final approval date

17/12/2004

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
1 Developing Business 0 0 1 326 690 466
2 Developing People 0 0 548 510 216
3 Developing Locations 0 0 1 074 649 773
4 Developing "Pathways" communities 0 0 416 207 723
999 Technical Assistance 0 0 46 637 635
Total 0 0 3 412 695 813

Financial Breakdown by Funds

EU Investment ERDF ESF EAGGF FIFG
Total: 1 389 070 300 930 640 300 452 400 000 5 730 000 300 000
100,00% 67% 32,57% 0,41% 0,02%