The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the EU’s main funding programmes for supporting growth and jobs across the EU.

In the UK, the ESIF are made up of the:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

In the EU’s funding round for 2014 to 2020, we want the funds to:

  • be easier to access
  • go further
  • be even better value for money for the UK taxpayer

Government role

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) leads for the UK government on policy for the European Structural Funds (ERDF and ESF) and on the UK Partnership Agreement. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has the policy lead for EAFRD and EMFF.

The Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for delivery of the ESIF in their own nations. In England, ERDF, ESF and an element of EAFRD have been grouped together under one jobs and growth focused programme – the ESIF Growth Programme.

You can view information and guidance about:


EU regulations

In December 2013, the EU regulations governing the use of the ERDF, ESF and EAFRD were finalised.

Allocations of ERDF, ESF and EAFRD 2014 to 2020

On 17 April 2014 we announced the breakdown of the UK’s allocations of ERDF and ESF over the next 6 years. A letter from the Secretary of State for Business provides information on how the funds breakdown across the UK. An equality impact assessment that underpins this decision has also been published. On 19 December 2013 we announced the EAFRD allocations including by LEP area within England.

Youth Employment Initiative

On 16 April 2014 the government also announced the areas that will gain from the £170 million allocation for the ‘Youth Employment Initiative’.

UK Partnership Agreement

The UK Partnership Agreement sets out the government’s plans, priorities and management arrangements for the ESIF across the UK for 2014 to 2020. All EU member states have to produce a Partnership Agreement before they can start spending their allocations of the funds. The Partnership Agreement was formally submitted to the European Commission on 17 April 2014. It was adopted by the Commission on 29 October 2014. View the Partnership Agreement.

Balance of competences

On 22 July 2014 the ‘Balance of competences review on cohesion policy’ was published. The review was launched on 12 July 2012 by the Foreign Secretary to examine the balance of competences between the UK and the European Union, and to provide an analysis of what the UK’s membership of the EU means for the UK national interest.