The manifesto promise to maintain and extend the Coastal Communities Fund to the end of the presumed 5 year life of new Parliament has effectively been confirmed by answers to oral questions to Jake Berry MP the new Minister responsible in the UK Parliament earlier in the week. The absence of any mention in the Queen’s Speech had caused mild concern, however, given that the extension to an existing programme does not require any legislative change and this Queen’s Speech was unusually brief this was perhaps a slight overreaction on our part.
Official announcements could follow before tomorrow’s start of Summer Recces or, more likely, during it. Of course, the devil will, as ever, remain in the detail. For example: we are yet to find out whether the once 50% of the (increasing) Crown Estates Marine revenues, quietly dropped to 33.3% for the last round will remain at 33.3% or go up or down for the next round or rounds? The percentage available makes a significant difference to the size of the total sum available and the number of projects supported in an always heavily oversubscribed fund.
In England at least DCLG are almost certain to pursue their recently introduced approach of two-year tranches. For pragmatic reasons it is very unlikely that bids will be sought by DCLG this side of New Year 2017, for what in any case will, I believe, be funding available in and for the 2019/20 – 2020/21 financial years.
In the other Home Nations that may now differ as the central administration of the assessment process, allocations etc. is being dropped and therefore Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will be free to choose a slight or very different approach to the running the programme to that in England going forward. Currently this is largely informed speculation on my part, and whether they chose to take a radically different approach remains to be seen.