Tuesday, April 19, 2022

News: Allocation of EU funding replacement labelled an outrage by South Yorkshire mayor


South Yorkshire has been allocated £38m in new regeneration funding, much less than the hundreds of millions it previously received from structural EU funding that the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund replaces.

Conditional allocations of £2.6 billion over the next three years have been announced from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) with the cash to be spent 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 committed to match the previous EU funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and say that the fund will be much more flexible and locally led, freeing communities from the bureaucratic, rigid and complex processes of the EU Structural Funds.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Rt Hon Michael Gove MP 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."

Previous settlements saw South Yorkshire allocated €410m for 2007-2013 and from 2014-2020 this was cut to around €180m. A legal challenge into the government's decision followed.

The allocation formula for 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 £2.6 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 the average spending of EU structural funds over the previous programme. Previous EU programmes ramped up and down, and areas will continue to receive EU funding until the end of 2024. Similarly, UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be increased from £40m in 2022/23 to £1.5 billion in 2024/25, at which point it will match the EU funds it has replaced.

The Government added that in England each Local Enterprise Partnership area "will receive the same in real terms as it used to under EU funding," and within each Local Enterprise Partnership area an index of need will be used to allocated funding to each local authority.

For South Yorkshire, allocations are £7,287,599 for Barnsley, £8,960,876 for Doncaster, £7,083,489 for Rotherham and £15,574,166 for Sheffield.

In order to access the funding, lead local authorities are being asked to complete an investment plan by the summer, setting out how they intend to use and deliver the funding.

Outgoing South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis said: "This announcement is nothing more than an outrage; a cynical Conservative con that utterly fails South Yorkshire and drives a coach and horses through the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

"Instead of delivering the additional £900m South Yorkshire is owed, and that I’ve consistently pushed the Government to deliver, we’ve been given little over £38m over a 3-year period. This announcement has been sneaked out just a few hours before purdah and with Parliament in recess – it exemplifies this Government’s complete contempt for people in our region.

"Throughout my time as Mayor I have worked tirelessly to build a stronger, fairer and greener South Yorkshire – but I have done so with both hands tied behind my back, because central government has broken virtually every promise it’s made to our region."

Last year, £1.84m was offered from the Community Renewal Fund to help establish a "Creative & Cultural Skills Embassy" linked to Rotherham's Children's Capital of Culture idea. The Community Renewal Fund is a precursor for the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Images: DLUHC


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