Written by 2:06 pm EU Investment

Government kickstarts £2.6 billion investment in communities as UK takes back control of EU funding

  • UK Government approves local spending plans for UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
  • UKSPF matches and succeeds EU funding in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and gives local leaders greater say in how the money is spent.
  • Funding will turbo-charge levelling up: supporting local businesses, boosting skills, reviving high streets and improving local pride.

People across the country will benefit from £2.6 billion of investment in skills, improved high streets, support for local business and more green spaces as the UK takes back control and approves spending plans for funding previously run by the European Union.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund succeeds EU structural funding but instead of Brussels deciding how and where the money is spent, the UK Government has been working closely with local leaders in every corner of the UK to direct funding where it is most needed.

Under the spending plans approved today, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all receiving at least as much as they did before, while also being free from bureaucratic EU processes and having greater say in how the money is used.

Councils in England, Scotland and Wales have drawn up the plans with a wide range of local partners that deliver for people in their areas. They have chosen to spend the money on a range of initiatives, such as supporting people into decent jobs, helping local businesses to grow and fighting anti-social behaviour, and can now begin to deliver these. In Northern Ireland, DLUHC is managing the Fund and has developed a plan in close collaboration with councils, businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said:

“We are taking full advantage of being outside the European Union and unlocking billions of pounds of investment to help level up communities and spread opportunity across the UK.

“The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will have tangible benefits for people up and down the country, from a young entrepreneur in need of a helping hand or those who want to gain the skills they need to secure a decent, well-paid job.

“The UK government has worked closely with local leaders across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, giving them a greater say in how this money is spent and ensuring funding is directed to where it is most needed.”

Across the UK, the money will be spent on levelling up in three key areas:

  • Communities and place: projects could include improving parks and green spaces, sports facilities and access to arts and culture to foster a greater sense of pride in place.
  • Supporting local business: this include support for entrepreneurs, as well as research and development grants for local businesses to help develop innovative products and services.
  • People and skills: projects could include specialist support for people with a health condition facing additional barriers into decent jobs. This may include basic life skills, digital training and education in English and maths. As part of the Fund, a multi-million pound adult numeracy programme, Multiply, has been allocated across the UK to support people with no or low-level maths skills to improve their economic and life prospects.

The UK Government’s flexible approach also means that councils and local partners will have the opportunity to adapt each plan to reflect new economic priorities over the period to 2025.

Today, the UK Government is publishing the UKSPF Investment Plan for Northern Ireland, which set outs how the fund will be delivered. This has been designed to improve pride in place, increase life chances and support growth by investing in key priorities for Northern Ireland.

Funding for the UKSPF will be £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5 billion per year by March 2025, delivering on the UK Government’s commitment to match EU structural funds for each nation.

Local areas across England will see £1.58 billion, Scotland £212 million, Wales £585 million and Northern Ireland £127 million made available under the fund.

Further information:

Councils have worked with a wide set of local partners to deliver the Investment Plans for communities. A list of agreed interventions for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for each of the three UKSPF investment priorities.

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