Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 463: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding increasing the percentage of Leader funding available from development agencies to community and private projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9725/12]
The Rural Development Programme is designed to address directly many of the challenges facing rural communities including the need to increase economic activity and stimulate job creation; improve access to basic services for rural dwellers and encourage rural tourism based on the sustainable development of natural resources.
In general, the maximum rates of grant aid available under the measures of the RDP are 50% for private promoters and 75% for community groups with higher rates available for specific activities such as Training (100%) and Analysis and Development (90%). In recent times, due mainly to the current economic climate, it has proven difficult for private individuals and community groups to obtain the matched funding required to avail of this grant aid, particularly for larger projects. As part of a suite of measures to address these and other issues relating to the delivery of the RDP my Department is proposing to increase the maximum rates of aid available to both private promoters and community groups to 75% and 90% respectively. Such changes have to be approved by the European Commission before they can be introduced and it is expected that this and other programme change requests will be submitted to the Commission for their consideration as soon as is possible.