Priorities and Measures
The Objective 2i Single Programming Document (SPDi) details the Priorities and Measures under which funding can be applied for. There are 3 complimentary priorities, each has a set of measures that detail the type of action that can be supported.
Policy Field 1: Business and Ideas
- Measure 1.1 – Creation and Establishment of Entrepreneurial Business Starts
To stimulate new entrepreneurial business start-ups and increase their survival rates
- Measure 1.2 – Increasing the Competitiveness of Established SMEs
To support the development of existing small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those with a growth orientation
- Measure 1.3 – Access to Investment Finance for Growth SMEs
Stimulate a higher rate of business formation, survival and growth in the region by providing access to investment finance for entrepreneurial start-ups and SMEs
- Measure 1.4 –Developing the Regional Knowledge Economy: Supporting Business Innovation and Networking
- Measure 1.5 – Investment in Premises for New and Expanding SMEs
Supports the growth and expansion of SMEs through the provision of specialised accommodation such as managed workspace, business incubators and technology parks
Policy Field 2: People and Communities
- Measure 2.1 – Developing Enterprise and Employment in Communities
Provides support for the stimulation, creation and support of community business, enterprise and employment within and for excluded communities
- Measure 2.2 – Improving Access to Employment
Addresses barriers to equality of opportunity in learning and employment for excluded communities that prevent full access to employment and learning markets, thereby enhancing the economic competitiveness of excluded groups
- Measure 2.3 – Developing an Inclusive Information Society
Development of an inclusive information society, ensuring that communities become full participants in the developing digital economy and overcome the challenge of a disparity between information rich and information poor
- Measure 2.4 – Connecting Communities
Supports activity to address environmental degradation affecting excluded communities, through regenerating specific areas of dereliction and poor environment that detract from the quality of life and adversely affect economic performance
- Measure 2.5 – Building Economically Sustainable Communities
Supports focused activity to develop and embed the competence, means and capacity and knowledge of communities to deal with economic and wider social exclusion
Policy Field 3: Strategic Regional Investment
- Measure 3.1 – Developing Strategic Employment Opportunities
Develops new strategic employment sites for industry and business
- Measure 3.2 – Maximising the Economic Potential of the North West’s Natural, Cultural and Other Heritage Assets
- Measure 3.3 – Connecting with ‘Communities in Need’
Cross Cutting Themes
There are three cross cutting priorities for the North West Objective 2 Programme. They are Equal Opportunities, support for the development of the Information Society and Sustainable Developmenti.
The European definition of equal opportunities is focused on gender. The rationale behind it is to ensure that men and women can participate on an equal footing, with the benefits of progress being evenly distributed between them. Particular inequalities still exist between men and women in employment, education, training, entrepreneurship and work/life balance. These inequalities have a negative effect on growth, competitiveness, regional and national, social and economic objectives, along with individual personal aspirations.
The focus on gender is intended to promote the gender balance by maximising opportunities for women leading ultimately to improved access and participation in all levels of the labour market. The Single Programming Document refers to this as Gender Mainstreaming. By this it is meant the active and visible integration of gender perspectives in all policy areas, programme content, development, planning and decision making processes, along with programme management.
The primary objective is ‘to increase the use of new information, communication and media technologies by all groups in society and to ensure that this is achieved in the most inclusive and sustainable ways possible’.(SPD p. 303)
In the North West there are different levels of growth of Internet Industries and e-commerce. This is due to market failure (lack of private initiatives and investment) and lack of progress in connecting opportunities and needs – especially among disadvantaged communities. This leads to a growing disparity between the information rich and the information poor. The inclusion of the Information Society as a cross cutting theme will go some way to redress this. The rationale behind this priorityi is to bring areas with limited or no growth of new information and communication technologies in line with UK and EU trends, consequently supporting both regional competitiveness and promoting social inclusion.
In particular this priority aims to support the implementation of the e-Europe initiative and the application of the following issues at regional level,
- Bringing all citizens, households, businesses, schools and administrations into the digital era and give them on-line access
- Introducing into Europe a digital culture underpinned by a spirit of enterprise that encourages the funding and development of new ideas
- Ensuring that the entire process is geared towards social integration, wins consumer confidence and reinforces social cohesion
The primary objective for sustainable development is ‘to ensure that the 2000-2006 Objective 2 Programme pursues economic growth, social progress and protection and enhancement of the environment simultaneously and that economic growth does not occur in a socially exclusive or environmentally damaging manner’. (SPD p. 312)
Social, economic and environmental issues can impact adversely on the quality of life of the population, contribute to a negative image of the region that dissuades potential investors and visitors and are therefore a serious threat to regional competitiveness. These issues include, for example:
- GDP per head lower than UK/EU average
- Low rates of business start ups and self employment
- Deficiencies in the skills base
- Pockets of severe social exclusion
- High crime levels and perceptions of crime
- Low educational attainments
- Poor urban air quality
- Lower tree coverage than any other UK region
- More derelict land than any other region
The prioritisation of sustainable development through the Objective 2 Programme involves the simultaneous integration of social, economic and environmental objectives, ensuring that one is not achieved at the expense of another. Competitiveness and quality of life are determined by a combination of social, economic and environmental factors. Economic growth needs to facilitate greater social inclusion and progress and result in improvement of the environment.
The Objective 2 Programme will support a number of initiatives which will enable people within deprived communities to take an active part in tackling issues such as crime, poor health, employability and dereliction. This will help to equip individuals with new skills, provide ladders to employment and enable them to improve the quality of their local environment thus creating a more sustainable region. The Objective 2 Programme will apply a sliding funding scale, offering a lower level of support to successful actions that score badly from a sustainability perspective.