The Government committed to consulting on its plans for a successor scheme – the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – in July 2018. More recently, it said it would “set out its commitment” to the fund in an English Devolution White Paper, announced in the Queen’s Speech.
EU funding has been a lifeline for local economies, but without replacement funding, communities could miss out on millions of pounds of additional private investment.
Local areas have put the £5.3 billion they have received from the EU since 2014 to good use, providing targeted training and job support for residents and businesses, especially for vulnerable groups that experience additional barriers to accessing the workplace.
The LGA wants elected mayors and local leaders to have the opportunity to help co-design the UKSPF, ensuring any future growth funding is more accessible, based on local need and distributed over the longer term.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s Brexit Taskforce, said: “Councils desperately need long-term certainty around how the UK will replace vital EU regional aid funding. A fully funded, locally driven UKSPF is central to improving people’s lives, supporting local businesses and boosting the national economy.
“Without further clarity, growth and investment in local areas is at risk.
“Councils want to work with the Government to ensure the UKSPF is developed quickly and to make sure no area is left without investment into their communities and all parts of the country can benefit from the growth they so desperately need.”