£297 million of EU funding is being made available for businesses and communities in South East England following the launch of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) this week.
The funding is split into 3 separate streams and will work to improve increase competitiveness, reduce unemployment and support rural development.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) looks to invest in innovation and research and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The European Social Fund (ESF) is primarily focused on helping people find decent jobs with good wages across the EU. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is in place to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural industry in a way that is both economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable.
Local businesses and communities will be able to apply for funds through their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Lib Dem Euro MP Catherine Bearder said:
"This is great news for the South East. EU funding can play an important role in creating sustainable and inclusive growth.
"I'm now calling on local businesses and communities to make full use of the available funds to bring thousands of new jobs to the area."