Jobs and skills warning when EU funds end

New jobs and skills training vital to levelling up the country are at risk of delay or being lost altogether because of a looming funding gap when existing European cash runs out, the LGA has warned.

Current plans show a potential gap in provision between the conclusion of EU funding for employment and skills at the end of next year, with some programmes finishing earlier than this, and the start of the ‘people and skills’ priority of its successor, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), in April 2023.

The LGA said this gap will most impact those who are furthest away from gaining employment and will probably lead to a reduction of capacity and provision in both councils and their partners, including the potentially permanent loss of vital expertise built up over many years.

Voluntary and community sector organisations will receive some support for the transition, but this does not go far enough to bridge the gap.

Councils now want to work with government to develop an effective transition to the UKSPF, to mitigate disruption to residents and services.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: “It is good that government has recognised the value of local leadership and flexibility in the design of the new fund, but this forecast gap in provision could disrupt future plans and the progress made so far.

“To support our local residents and businesses, it is essential that the Government ensures there is a smooth, uninterrupted transition from the end of the European Social Fund programme to the UKSPF, and works with councils at every stage, if we are to stay on course and together achieve our shared ambition of levelling up all parts of the country.”

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