The conditions in respect of the drawdown of funding for the rural schemes referred to by the Deputy are set out in the respective Funding Agreements with the Local Authorities for those schemes. The current agreements require that 50% of the project spend must be completed before 50% of the grant allocation from the Department will be paid to the Local Authority. The balance of funding is paid on completion of the project.
Previously, Local Authorities could draw down 50% of the funding allocated when 20% of the project spend had been incurred by them. Again, payment of the balance of funding was contingent on the completion of the project.
The Department has, at times, used its discretion to allow Local Authorities to make drawdown requests where projects were well advanced, but where the spend was less than 50% of the overall total projected costs. All Local Authorities would have been advised in writing by the Department where this was to apply. Payment in such cases was based on the level of expenditure actually incurred, and the remainder of the grant allocation was paid on completion of the project.
In the case of all schemes, Local Authorities are required to provide an element of match funding, as set out in the criteria for the relevant scheme. The amounts allocated and paid to Local Authorities by the Department comprise the balance of the funding required to complete the approved project when the match funding and any other source of funding has been taken into account.