The Government has shared a little more detail on the nature of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), its proposed replacement for the EU’s Structural Funds.
31 July 2018
EU funding has been an important source of support for regeneration programmes over recent decades and is currently worth over £1bn per annum in the UK. Many housing associations have secured European Social Fund money to support programmes aimed at helping people into work. The Government has committed to support such projects and programmes entered into up to the point of the UK’s departure from the EU in 2020.
Less has been forthcoming about the replacement for EU funds. The SPF was included in last year’s Conservative Party manifesto but little more detail was released in the following year. On 24 July, however, Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, submitted a Written Ministerial Statement which provided some further information.
The statement clarifies the SPF’s objective as being “to tackle inequalities between communities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of our country whose economies are furthest behind”. This aligns the SPF closely with our Great Places programme, which is looking at similar topics and places.
Administration of the SPF is promised to be simpler than for EU funds, with forthcoming Local Industrial Strategies a key mechanism for identifying and prioritising funding needs. No specific detail of the scale or organisation of the SPF were provided, however, with further information being promised after 2019’s Spending Review. Before then, a consultation on the SPF has been promised for later this year.
We are intensifying our efforts to engage and influence the Government on the design of the SPF and the role of housing associations in the Local Industrial Strategy process. Our learning from the Great Places programme, particularly the recent member workshops and Commission visits, will directly shape these efforts.
For more information about our activity around the SPF, Local Industrial Strategies or our Great Places programme, please contact Duncan Neish.