15. The total financial allocation for the four Structural
Funds for 2000-06 throughout the EU is 183,564 million with
an additional 11,500 million available for the four Community
Initiatives and innovative actions, making a total of 195,000
million for support for structural operations for the period 2000-06.
This financial support for structural operations accounts for
nearly one third of the EU budget.
16. The UK has been allocated 16,100 million,
or 8.5% of the total budget for the four structural funds for
the current programming period (2000-06).
Of the UK's total allocation from all four structural funds,
45% (amounting to 7,200 million), is channelled through
17. The ESF in the UK represents a more significant
element in preventing and combating unemployment than is the average
in the EU. According to estimates by the European Commission,
the percentage of public expenditure on active labour market policies
in the UK is 14.6% compared with an EU average of 8.1%.
Although these figures are broad estimates and do not include
some relevant public expenditure such as adult learning programmes,
they serve to underline the relative importance of the ESF as
a source of financial assistance for improving training and job
opportunities in the UK.
18. As noted above, during the 2000-06 programme
period, £4,467 million (7,200 million) is available
from the ESF in Great Britain. This includes £962 million
for Objective 1, £323 million for Objective 2, £2,940
million for Objective 3 and £241 million for Equal. In Northern
Ireland, £274 million is available from the ESF, of which
£174 million is allocated to the Objective 1 transitional
programme, £93 million to the EU Programme for Peace and
Reconciliation (PEACE II), and £7.25 million to Equal. Objective
3 funding is available in all areas except those covered by Objective
19. The European Commission has provided some useful
statistical data, which are reproduced in the evidence. These
show that, amongst other things, when expressed in 1999 prices,
the average annual support from the ESF for the UK for the programming
period 2000-06 is 2,234 million, or 8.5% of the EU total,
which is the sixth largest programme of the EU.
This compares with 2,022 million or 8.4% of the EU total
for the previous programming period (1994-99). Overall, the UK
is expected to receive a 10% increase in real terms over the two
programming periods, although its share of the financial resources
has remained fairly constant.