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EU rural cash – deadline looms

European Structural and Investment Funds are established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development.
European Structural and Investment Funds are established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development.

Rural businesses targeting growth have just two weeks left to apply for grants from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has warned.

A total of £5m has been made available by EAFRD to help fund the creation of new infrastructure, encouraging business to grow and diversify.

Bids are encouraged for schemes that will help rural 
businesses to diversify; food-processing companies investing in new equipment or buildings; and tourism infrastructure schemes that boost overall visitor spending.

Grants are expected to pay for, on average, 40 per cent of the cost of any project with applicants expected to fund the remaining 60 per cent from other sources. The minimum grant is £35,000.

The money is being made available from the EAFRD, which is administered by the Rural Payments Agency in partnership with the LEP.

Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of the LEP and the Leeds City Region European Structural and Investment Funds Sub–Committee, said: “The funding now available will help rural firms become more productive and more competitive while also helping us build infrastructure that will make it easier for tourists to visit our magnificent – and frankly unrivalled – county.

“I’d encourage all rural business-owners planning to grow their output to put in applications before May 31.”

Applicants are urged to call Defra Rural Services helpline on 03000 200301, or email GPEnquries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk.

Applications must be submitted by Thursday, May 31.