Operational Programme 'East Wales'

Operational Programme under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

United Kingdom

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On 13 August 2007, the European Commission approved a regional development programme for East Wales for the period 2007-2013, entitled the "East Wales Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programme". The Programme involves Community support for East Wales under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective. The total public contribution to the Programme is around €140 million, with Community assistance through the ERDF amounting to some €72 million (approximately 0.7% of the total EU money invested in the United Kingdom under Cohesion Policy 2007-2013).

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

East Wales benefited from support of over €126 million under the ERDF Objective 2 Programme 2000–2006. Coupled with matching funding from the public, private and voluntary sectors, over 300 projects have received investments totalling some €352 million. This has made a real difference to the future prospects of businesses, communities and individuals across the region. The Mid Term Evaluation Update (MTEU) of the Objective 2 Programme 2000–2006 estimated that up to 5500 net new jobs and 500 net new SMEs will have been created by the end of the programming period in 2009. Structural Funds have made a significant contribution to improving the region’s economic prosperity in line with the Lisbon and Gothenburg reform agendas.

The new ERDF Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programme 2007-2013 will build on this success and learn from the experience of past Structural Fund programmes. Within the framework of priorities identified for 2007-2013, the new Programme will take forward existing interventions with a proven track record of success, while encouraging new and innovative approaches. The available funding will be devoted to building lasting economies and communities that will thrive and drive strong and sustainable economic growth. Investments will be made on the basis of future potential, while the theme of long-term economic capacity building – essential for jobs and growth – will be the cornerstone of resource allocation.

The overall aim of the ERDF Programme is to make East Wales a vibrant, entrepreneurial region at the cutting edge of sustainable development.

The key drivers to achieving the above through the ERDF Programme are:

  • Helping businesses to move continually up the value chain and increase the value added per job, thereby raising productivity and earnings;
  • Creating an attractive environment for people to live and work in, including through the regeneration of the region’s poorest communities.

2. Expected impact of investments

The Programme is expected to create 5340 new jobs and 510 new start-ups through the Structural Funds. €108 million in tangible and intangible investments will be levered as a result of the ERDF funding. Given its strong emphasis on research, the Programme will help to introduce more than 800 new products and processes.

3. Priorities

The Programme will be implemented through a simplified structure comprising four main priorities plus a Technical Assistance priority:

Priority 1: Knowledge and Innovation for growth [approximately 44.6% of total funding]

This priority will focus on promoting economic growth through developing and encouraging the take-up of higher value-added products and processes. Businesses will be able to grow and improve their competitiveness and productivity by drawing on technological advances and process innovation. This Priority will include promoting research and technological development and the ability to commercialise, as well as promoting greater use of ICT.

Priority 2: Business competitiveness and growth [approximately 19.5% of total funding]

This Priority will support entrepreneurship, assist the growth and expansion of businesses, and support targeted improvements in access to business finance.

Priority 3: Tackling climate change [approximately 19.5% of total funding]

This priority will help tackle the challenges of climate change through mitigation and adaptation measures. It will promote environmental protection and help respond to environmental risk. This will include promoting the use of clean and renewable energy and encouraging energy and resource efficiency.

Priority 4: Regeneration for growth [approximately 14.8% of total funding]

The priority will focus on targeted approaches to tackling deprivation and improving local economies in an integrated way across the most deprived communities of East Wales. It will enable people living in our most deprived communities to contribute to, and benefit from, the achievement of the Lisbon objectives for growth and jobs.

Priority 5: Technical assistance [approximately 2.6% of total funding]

This priority will provide support for programme management and implementation, including technical support, communications and publicity, research and evaluation and targeted capacity building actions.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'East Wales'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision

C/2007/3948 + C/2011/1610

Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Knowledge and Innovation for growth 32 201 650 31 294 532 63 496 182
Business competitiveness and growth 14 076 400 11 884 497 25 960 897
Tackling climate change 14 076 400 15 187 223 29 263 623
Regeneration for growth 10 647 271 9 546 916 20 194 187
Technical assistance 1 450 000 1 175 025 2 625 025
Total 72 451 721 69 088 193 141 539 914