Councils call for UK Shared Prosperity Fund to be worth £4bn

A group of local authorities has called on the government to allocate £4bn a year for the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

A new report by the Industrial Communities Alliance claims the new fund, which will replace various EU regeneration funding streams, needs to be set at £4bn a year if – as widely predicted – it is to be merged with the British government’s Local Growth Fund.

If it is not merged with the Local Growth Fund, then the report says the UK Shared Prosperity Fund needs to be set at £1.8bn in order to replace the EU funds that would have come to the UK after Brexit.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was first promised in the 2017 Conservative Party general election manifesto, but details remain patchy about how the fund will actually work.

Although the Conservative 2019 general election manifesto stated £500m of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to ‘give disadvantaged people the skills they need to make a success of life’.

A full consultation on the new fund was due to be held by ministers before the end of 2018, but it has still yet to occur.

The Alliance report also calls for the new fund to be allocated on the basis of need in England using a ‘robust formula, not via competitive tendering’.

It also adds that any allocations to Scotland and Wales should be not less than at present and managed outside the Barnet formula, which is a Treasury mechanism which allocates money to the devolved nations.

The report adds that is it is important that local partners are given flexibility to define the types of projects on which the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is spent.

‘Many voters in older industrial Britain backed Boris Johnson,’ said the Alliance’s acting chair, Cllr Russell Imrie.

‘Now is the time for him to ensure that our communities do not lose out from Brexit and to support our efforts to rebuild the economies of our areas.

‘Thanks to European funding over the years, we’ve been able to make progress in replacing the thousands upon thousands of jobs lost from industries such as coal, steel, engineering and textiles but we still have a long way to go to match the prosperity in other parts of the country.

‘We want to see the prime minister’s electoral promise translated into hard cash and real action on the ground to help deliver the jobs and growth that our communities still so clearly need,’ added Cllr Imrie.

The full report on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is available to read here.

Photo Credit – Nattanan23 (Pixabay)


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