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News Tag: UKSPF

ERSA’s work on the UKSPF

Successful campaign unlocks funding for marginalised unemployed

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) has welcomed the lifting of a government restriction which will enable local authorities across England to allocate UK Shared Prosperity Fund money to people and skills support programmes from next month, April 2023. Previously this vital funding pot to support some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged unemployed people in society was mothballed until the 2024/25 financial year, leaving a catastrophic gap in replacing previous European funding.


This original scheduling of UKSPF monies was met with condemnation by the employability industry and attracted widespread media comment when first aired in late 2021, and later confirmed in UKSPF pre-launch guidance. Following a concerted campaign by ERSA and its members – which comprise local authorities, housing associations, specialist employability and skills organisations – DLUHC has removed the restriction on spending in this area a year early.

ERSA tirelessly engaged with Ministers and provided both qualitative and quantitative evidence to policy makers at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Number 10, and DLUHC demonstrating the employability sector’s effectiveness in reaching those disengaged from Jobcentre Plus programmes. Without bridging the gap in lost European funding, which ends in March 2023, thousands of vulnerable people would lose support, and expertise would disappear from the sector as smaller support organisations struggled for funding.

Yet concerns remain that commissioning delays and lack of planning will still create barriers to the effective spending of this money. ERSA’s Chief Executive Elizabeth Taylor broadly welcomes the new spending schedule but highlights that it’s not the lifeline many were hoping for:

“We are relieved and pleased with the Government’s acceptance of the evidence we submitted and the announced change in funding restrictions,” she said. “Specialist employment support programmes, delivered at a local level, are an ideal way of supporting economically inactive people back into the labour market and I thank ERSA members that submitted data and examples of good practice to illustrate that.

“However even with this latest announcement, there is no requirement for local authorities to actually fund employment and skills in 2023. Relevant provision may not have been made in their current investment plans which are now being implemented. There cannot be a reliance on busy local authorities to bring this money forward without a national initiative and technical support to do so. Some authorities will not have the capacity, the statutory duty, nor the in-house expertise to effectively utilise this funding quickly. We fear there will still therefore be a gap in funding which will have a detrimental impact on the employability sector, the people it supports, and the wider labour market.

  • ERSA strongly recommends that the people and skills strand of UKSPF is relaunched with a new funding round to meet current labour market shortages, economic inactivity, and to improve job prospects for households that need to increase their income. We continue to work with the relevant Government departments, local authorities and our member organisations to provide meaningful support in accessing and effectively utilising UKSPF funding.”

DLUHC’s statement in full:

The Prime Minister recently set out a clear direction to focus on building the skills capability of people across the UK, so that they can realise their potential and increase workforce participation rates and our prosperity and productivity as a country.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is already well aligned with this goal as the main source of funding to support economically inactive individuals move towards employment. To maximise the impact of the Fund in this area, we will remove the restriction on people and skills spending from April 2023 in England. This will enable lead local authorities to allocate UKSPF funding to any people and skills intervention to an individual, partnership or any delivery partner, during the second and third year of the Fund. Previously, this flexibility was not available in England until April 2024.

We will continue to stand by our pledge to let local places decide what is best for their areas, working closely with key stakeholders, and deploy funds flexibly across the local growth agenda and UKSPF funded employment priorities which are intended to dovetail with the national Department for Work and Pensions offer and other locally delivered complimentary support, including Multiply. To support the effectiveness of this suite of provision for recipients and to minimise administrative burdens on lead authorities and providers, we continue to advise lead authorities to work collectively across broader geographies to ensure the package of employment and skills interventions are fully integrated.

This change will be done with the least amount of bureaucracy as lead local authorities can make these changes through routine end-of-year reporting, no additional notifications to DLUHC will be required.

This post was originally written for FE NEWS.


3SC/Twin online event: UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Getting your voice heard! 

3SC/Twin online event: UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Getting your voice heard! 
12 July, 11am – 12.30pm
Register now for a joining link

UKSPF – The current landscape, what has happened so far & what you can do now to ensure the voice of your organisation is heard.

 Speakers confirmed: Elizabeth Taylor Chief Executive at Employment Related Services (ERSA) and Leah Davis Head of Policy and External Affairs at NPC (New Philanthropy Capital). The event will be chaired by Kathryn Jellings Head of Programmes for 3SC.

Over the next 3 years the Government has allocated £2.6 billion for the UKSPF which replaces EU funding. Lead Authorities are set to receive at least £1 million pounds and to access their allocation they will be submitting a local investment plan by 1 August 2022.

Many programmes in our sector will be coming to an end in the next year and we believe this will create a crisis, whereby local, community driven organisations will not be able to provide quality services to those who need it.

Join 3SC for this ‘Teams’ webinar where we will brief organisations on the current landscape, what has happened so far and crucially, what you can do now to ensure the voice of your organisation is heard at a local and national level.

Register now. 

See also ERSA’s work on UKSPF

Blackpool nursing home staff complete business qualifications

Staff at a nursing home in Blackpool have benefitted after completing a range of qualifications aimed at upskilling workforces.

Three workers from New Victoria Nursing Home on Hornby Road have completed courses in Business Administration, delivered by local training providers PHX Training.

The Level 2 course teaches staff about the basics of operating a business, including responsibilities, information management and document production, and allows learners to learn the skills needed if they want to progress into team leader or supervisor roles in the future.

The training courses, which are fully funded by the Department for Work and Pensions alongside the European Social Fund, are aimed to help businesses in Lancashire become more productive, retain staff and plug skills gaps.

PHX Training, which has centres in Blackpool, Preston and Morecambe, is working with Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver 1,500 in work qualifications over the next two years.

Jan Moutrey, General Manager at the New Victoria Care Home, says the courses are a good way for businesses to invest in the skills of their staff.

She said: “These courses give our staff a deeper understanding of the daily running of the care home, while also increasing their confidence and involvement in the operations of the home delivering the highest level of care. Investing in our staff in very important so that they feel valued and can offer the best service to our residents.

“The service from PHX Training was excellent and they were understanding and supportive about fitting the courses around the daily work. As the courses could be done online or written it could be done by all ages of a varied workforce.”

Darren Pond, Business Manager for Work Based Learning at PHX Training, said: “These courses are fully funded and designed to help businesses train their staff up so that they can improve their skills, train them for more senior roles or plug any knowledge or skills gaps they have.

“Our team can support businesses who are interested every step of the way, starting with an initial phone call.”

The courses, which are fully funded by the Department for Work and Pensions alongside the European Social Fund, are available to all businesses in Lancashire looking to increase the knowledge and skills of employees. They can be delivered through paper booklets or online, with staff able to complete the course around their daily work tasks.

In addition to business administration, other courses available to businesses include data protection, climate change awareness, customer service, hospitality and safeguarding for the care sector.

To find out about the full range of fully funded courses which PHX Training offers, contact 07817 792 018 or visit


All media enquiries, please contact:

Adam Ogden or Paul Tustin

01772 888400 or

Notes to editors:

PHX Training delivers government-backed training initiatives, adult skills, NEET (not in education, employment or training), employability contracts, apprenticeship training and work-based learning programmes.

A team of qualified trainers delivers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at five training centres in Barrow, Blackpool, Carlisle, Morecambe and Preston.

The Real Level of Unemployment – latest findings presented by Prof Steve Fothergill

New research report funded by Sheffield Hallam University using Research England’s Enhancing Research Culture Fund. ‘ The Real Level of Unemployment 2022: The myth of full employment across Britain’. 

ERSA is delighted to be joined by Professor Steve Fothergill on 10 June at 11am online to present the report to members. Register here and read more about the report below.

Register for ‘The Real Level of Unemployment’ on 10 June, 11am. 

The Real Level of Unemployment 2022: The myth of full employment across Britain
Report published:
23 May 2022

Authors: Christina Beatty, Steve Fothergill, Tony Gore and David Leather


This report presents an alternative set of unemployment figures for every district and unitary authority in Great Britain. It is the sixth in a series of similar reports dating back to 1997.

The report explains how official measures of unemployment fail to adjust for distortions arising from the operation of the benefits system and how the very large numbers of incapacity-related claimants hide substantial unemployment.

Drawing on official statistics and proven methods, the report estimates that in early 2022 the real level of unemployment across Great Britain as a whole was just over 2.3 million. This compares with 1.77 million on the claimant count and only 1.31 million on the government’s preferred measure based on ILO criteria and the Labour Force Survey.

The report estimates that there are some 790,000 ‘hidden unemployed’ on incapacity benefits. These are men and women who might have been expected to be in work in a genuinely fully employed economy. They do not represent fraudulent claims and they account for slightly less than a third of the headline total of incapacity claimants of working age.

The real level of unemployment is estimated to be broadly the same as in 2017, when similar figures were last produced, but remains lower than the levels in the immediate wake of the financial crisis or in the 1990s.

In Wales hidden unemployment is estimated to account for more than half of all unemployment, and in Scotland, the North West, North East and South West hidden unemployment accounts for approaching half the total. In London and the South East hidden unemployment accounts for only a fifth.

Hidden unemployment is disproportionately concentrated in the weakest local economies, particularly Britain’s older industrial areas and a number of seaside towns. In the worst affected places, the estimated real rate of unemployment exceeds 10 per cent of all adults of working age.   By contrast, in substantial parts of southern England outside London the rate is around 2 per cent.

The report concludes that whilst some parts of Britain are now at or close to full employment, the economy as a whole is still some way off and substantial unemployment persists in other parts of the country.

The data for unitary and district local authorities shows that in 2022 there are really three different Britains:

FULL EMPLOYMENT BRITAIN (below 4% real unemployment)

  • 141 local authorities
  • 20 million people
  • Average real unemployment 8%
  • 14% of unemployment ‘hidden’

MIDDLING BRITAIN (4-8% real unemployment)

  • 158 local authorities
  • 31 million people
  • Average real unemployment 0%
  • 34% of unemployment ‘hidden’


HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT BRITAIN (more than 8% real unemployment)

  • 64 local authorities
  • 14 million people
  • Average real unemployment 4%
  • 42% of unemployment ‘hidden’

The report argues that Levelling Up has a key role to play in reducing unemployment in less prosperous areas and there needs to be help too, including from employers, in maintaining labour market engagement among men and women with ill health or disabilities.

Download the full report

Download the data set

View interactive maps

Further links

Research England’s Enhancing Research Culture Fund

ERSA is hosting an online event to share and debate these findings with Professor Steve Fothergill on 10 June 2022, 11am -12.30pm, register now. 

UKSPF England: Plymouth Public engagement webinar on 22 June

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Public engagement webinar – 22 June 2022, 2pm

Plymouth City Council will be hosting a public engagement webinar on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund on 22 June 2022 at 2pm. This will be a virtual event hosted on Microsoft Teams and will include a chance to discuss the priorities of the fund and provide feedback.

Register your interest in the webinar by emailing and putting ‘Register of Interest – Webinar’ in the email subject line.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus has been published by Government. It provides information about how the fund will operate.

The government has allocated Plymouth £3,131,412 for 3 years which will be shared across the three investment priority groups:

  • Place & Community
  • Business & Innovation
  • Skills & People

In addition, we have been allocated £1,317,533 for Multiply, the Government’s adult education programme (also for three years).

The council has to develop an investment plan on how Plymouth will allocate this funding by the end of July. The investment plan has to be approved by government and funding will start to become available by the autumn.

Fund summary


The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF or the Fund) is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the Fund through a funding formula rather than a competition.

You can read the UK Shared Prosperity Fund prospectus page for more information.

Investment priorities

The Fund has three investment priorities: community and place, supporting local businesses and people and skills; all overarched by one objective, building pride in place and increasing life chances. Plymouth’s Core UKSPF allocation was £3,131,412.

View the full breakdown of interventions, objectives, outcomes and outputs.

Allocation methodology

For England, a blended approach was taken to allocate funding to each place. The blended approach takes into account the following:

  • Maintains EU structural fund distributions, 70% is allocated on a per capita bases.
  • 30% of the allocation uses the same needs-based index previously used in identifying UK Community Renewal Fund priority places, predominantly:
    • Productivity
    • Household income
    • Skills
    • Productivity – place with lower population density

View the full methodological note.


UKSPF also introduces the Multiply programme. This is a new, up to £559 million, programme to help transform the lives of adults across the UK, by improving their functional numeracy skills through free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses. Plymouth’s allocation for the Multiply programme was £1,317,533.

If you have any questions for Plymouth City Council regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund please email

ERSA’s work on UKSPF

UKSPF Wales: Gwynedd to host virtual sessions

GWYNEDD Council are holding virtual sessions on June 8-9 to share information about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and to gather feedback about local priorities.

Local stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors are invited to attend the sessions.

The UK Government has announced the establishment of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with capital and revenue funds available across three investment priorities:

• Community and Place

• Supporting Local Businesses, and

• People and Skills

Each local area will receive an allocation based on a funding formula, and £24.4million will be allocated to Gwynedd for the period to March 2025.

In Wales, local areas are required to cooperate with other areas within their region, and the first step to ensure receipt of the funds is to submit a Regional Investment Plan, outlining how the money will be shared between investment priorities and distributed.

The Council will be holding virtual sessions to share details about the fund and to gather feedback about local priorities.

The North Wales Investment Plan will be submitted to UK Government before August 1, and it is anticipated that activity will begin during the autumn of 2022.

To book a place, visit

ERSA’s work on UKSPF

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus – Immediate Steps for ERSA Members

1. Make yourself known to your local lead authority/authorities

  • The full list of lead local authorities can be found here.
  • The Investment Plan submission window is open from 30 June to 1 August 2022. This is when lead local authorities will submit requests for the funding window: April 2022 to March 2025.
  • “In England, places will be able to select people and skills interventions from 2024-2025 onwards, or earlier where they meet the voluntary sector considerations outlined here.”
  • “In recognition of their specific circumstances, places in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to select interventions from the people and skills investment priority from 2022-2023.”
  • Make sure that local authorities know about the important work you do and when your current European-funded projects end.
  • Make your case to be included in Investment Plan submissions, using these interventions, outputs and indicators.

2. Get involved in Local Partnership Groups 

  • “Places should establish or designate a local partnership group to consult when developing their investment plan.”
  • By getting involved in local partnership groups, you will be able to make your case for funding heard by those who will be submitting investment plans.
  • Between April and May 2022, engagement sessions with local authorities and other local partners will take place to support the investment plan process.
  • Seek an active interest in the Investment Planning stage.

3. Don’t let your work go unnoticed!

  • Accessing the UK Shared Prosperity Fund relies on local authorities understanding the work you do and the people you support.
  • Be proactive – now is the time to make yourselves heard.
  • Specifically evidence the priorities/challenges of local people.
  • Contact people in your local areas who can help influence for you:
    • MPs;
    • Councillors;
    • Local enterprise partnerships
    • Local press;
    • Local Councils for Voluntary Service.

Read more about ERSA’s Work on UKSPF