Action: coastal destination members. Information: inland destination members
I am attaching a draft letter to Defra for your comment, and/or amendment. Although about future fisheries policy the White Paper could conceivably impact on the Coastal Communities Fund, hence our interest:
It is deliberately blunt narrative response designed to try to make a couple of very simple points:
- that tourism is vitally important to most coastal communities
- and that the Coastal Communities Fund is already heavily overcommitted and can’t easily be called upon to replace EU funding for fisheries, if indeed there is any intent to do so.
It may well not be necessary but it isn’t worth taking the risk, simply for the want of bothering to writing to them. It is also a good general platform from which to subsequently raise the usual raft of issues around the importance of tourism, the need for effective destination management, access to core funding etc. for coastal and all other well-established destination communities, with Defra, other Westminster Departments, and politicians in all Governments. I am assuming that those of you that haven’t a strong fisheries element are unlikely to respond yourselves? If that is incorrect then let me know and I will adjust the letter accordingly. Equally feel free to add weight to our response with your own.
Background: The Fisheries White paper which sets out the complexities of a post Brexit UK fishing industry policies contains a very short section on resourcing the UK Government’s future approach at section 3. Paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 deal with the current European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EEMF – €243.1m over 5 years up to 2020) and, “whether and how” to replace it. Paragraph 3.3 looks briefly at the future support for coastal communities. This paragraph mentions future plans for a UK Shared Prosperity Fund, its potential importance to disadvantaged coastal communities and the planned consultation on it, that was set out under the Industrial Strategy White Paper. Critically the paragraph 3.3 also references the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) as, “another fund available to support fishing communities” (next available two-year round being 2021 – 2023). Responses to the consultation paper at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fisheries-white-paper-sustainable-fisheries-for-future-generations/sustainable-fisheries-for-future-generations-consultation-document are required by 12 September 2018.
Taken as a very brief statement of fact this is all very innocuous. However, given the importance of CCF to all coastal communities and not just to the relatively few fisheries communities within them, and viewed alongside the loss of the EMFF by 2020 and the reference to “whether and how” to replace it, I do have a nagging concern, particularly as I’m assuming that only those relatively few places with significant fisheries are likely to respond. Defra might get an unintentionally skewed fisheries view of funding requirements for all “coastal communities” or could quite easily come to their own erroneous conclusions around the level of available resources, the scale of need and the ability of the already heavily oversubscribed Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government’s CCF to take-up any slack in funding post the demise of EEMF. If that were the case it would serve neither the fisheries or the much wider general coastal communities’ interests.
I hope you follow and broadly agree with the rational for the letter? The draft of which can be accessed here. Please let me have your views and any amendments ASAP and absolutely by no later than close of play 11 September 2018.