UK Shared Prosperity Fund
ERSA is continuing our work shaping and influencing UKSPF employment and skills provision.
UK Community Renewal Fund/ UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Plans for the UK Community Renewal Fund continue to be rolled out, with a number of lead organisations having now put out calls for applications across the UK (which can be found in full here). The Fund will provide £220 million additional funding to help places across the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches and will invest in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.
The UK Government has also designated 100 areas as ‘”Priority Places” to receive investment as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund, which will prioritise applications that target the top 100 places where they also demonstrate a good contribution to strategic fit and delivery/effectiveness. This does not mean that other places should not apply. Applications from other places who demonstrate strong alignment with strategic fit and good delivery/effectiveness may also receive funding.
The lead authority of each of the 100 priority places will also receive capacity funding to help them invite bids locally and appraise these bids. The list of priority places and lead authorities can be found here.
ERSA’s own resources related to the Fund can also be found in full here.
The UK Community Renewal Fund will help inform the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund through the funding of one-year pilots, but the funds are distinct with regard to design (including allocation approach), eligibility and duration. Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021-22 only.
Investment from EU Structural Funds will continue to be spent by local areas until 2023, and the government has committed to at least matching EU receipts through the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, on average reaching around £1.5 billion a year. This new Fund, to be formally launched in 2022, will operate throughout the UK and, in the Government’s words, “play a part in uniting and levelling up the whole country.”
The “Levelling Up” Agenda
The UK Government are currently placing a strong emphasis on the importance of their “Levelling Up” agenda and policy programme, with the CRF and forthcoming UKSPF discussed above being a key part of this work. To support this agenda, the government has launched three new investment programmes across the UK, specifically:
- The UK Community Renewal Fund
- The Levelling Up Fund
- The Community Ownership Fund
The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. You can find the prospectus for the Fund in full here.
The Community Ownership Fund is a new £150 million programme to help ensure that communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can support and continue benefiting from the local facilities, community assets and amenities most important to them. From summer 2021 community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched-funding to help them buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost, to run as community-owned businesses.
This will form part of the UK government’s levelling up agenda, helping support recovery and building opportunity, with funding weighted towards places where community assets can make the most difference. You can find out more about the Fund here.
ERSA members wishing to join the ERSA UKSPF Working Group should email the ERSA Team via [email protected] with any experience or information that might be relevant.
November 2019: Report launched
The report is here Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK.
Sponsored by The Salvation Army and Shaw Trust, the report details how the UK has benefited from European Social Fund (ESF) support.
Over 1.1 million people have gone into work after leaving a programme supported by ESF during the last round of funding (2014-2019) making a big dent in the UK unemployment figures. Read the full press release here.
This report is a great start and has already been used to influence politicians, but the work doesn’t stop there.
If we are to be successful in securing the on-going funding ERSA members need to continue the life changing work they do using the current ESF funding our campaign must continue.