Deprived area

Communities across UK handed control of £2.6bn levelling up funding

Communities across the United Kingdom will benefit from £2.6bn of government funding being allocated today to help spread opportunity and level up the country.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will see places that need it most draw up plans this year to deliver on their local priorities, based on a conditional allocation of funding over the next three years.

This could include regenerating rundown high streets, fighting anti-social behaviour and crime, or helping more people into decent jobs, helping to revive communities, tackle economic decline and reverse geographical disparities in the UK, the government said.

Spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of the UK through community led investment, local areas across England will see £1.58bn, Scotland £212m, Wales £585m and Northern Ireland £127m made available under the fund.

The government said that the funding delivers on their commitment to match the previous European Union (EU) funding from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund.

However, they said that the new fund will be much more flexible and locally led, freeing communities from the bureaucratic, rigid and complex processes of the EU structural funds.

As well as this, the government said that bureaucracy will be slashed and there will be far more discretion over what money is spent on, while also announcing that EU requirements for match funding will be abolished.

Instead of regional agencies, funding decisions will be made by elected leaders in local government, with input from local Members of Parliament and local businesses and voluntary groups.

The fund also includes a new £559m adult numeracy programme for the whole of the UK, Multiply, which will support people with no or low-level maths skills get back into work.

The scheme will offer free personal tutoring, digital training and flexible courses to improve adults’ confidence and numeracy skills.

Commenting, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said:

“We have taken back control of our money from the EU and we are empowering those who know their communities best to deliver on their priorities.

“The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to unleash the creativity and talent of communities that have for too long been overlooked and undervalued.

“By targeting this funding at areas of the country that need it the most, we will help spread opportunity and level up in every part of the United Kingdom.”

The allocation formula for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund takes into account both the local population data and a broadly based measure of need, including factors like unemployment and income levels.

This is to ensure the most amount of money is going to areas which will truly benefit from the fund.

Funding for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be £2.6bn between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5bn per year by March 2025.

Areas will continue to receive EU funding until the end of 2024.

PSE365 will be hosting a Public Sector Levelling Up virtual event on 17 November, sign up here.

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