1. What is the UK Shared Prosperity Fund?
The UKSPF is a large programme of public funding intended to replace EU structural funds, such as the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
2. Who is leading the design of UKSPF?
According to the BBC News the UKSPF will be launched in the week commencing 23rd November 2020.
3. What is the value of the UKSPF?
The value of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has yet to be published by the Government. It is understood that the Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2020 will set out the value of the new fund and provide regional allocations.
The Conservative Party Manifesto from December 2019 states that the UKSPF will "at a minimum match the size of those [EU Structural Funds] in each nation".
4. What is the value of the EU Structural Funds which the UKSPF is designed to replace?
According to CPMR, had the UK remained in the EU then the UK would have received an allocation of c. €13bn (£11.4bn) in respect of the European Regional Development Fund ("ERDF") and the European Social Fund ("ESF") for the period 2021 - 2027.
5. Will the UKSPF replace any other funds?
There is speculation that the UKSPF will also replace other Government regeneration funds, such as the Local Growth Fund. For this reason, there have been calls from public sector bodies to set the UKSPF budget at £4bn per year.
6. What are the aims of the UKSPF?
The Conservative Party Manifesto 2019 states that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund shall be:
- "used to bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations";
- "be better targeted at the UK’s specific needs" and
- "replace the EU programme with one that is fairer and better tailored to our economy".
The December 2019 Manifesto commitments are consistent with a 2018 statement by James Brokenshire, then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who announced the UKSPF's aims are:
- To tackle inequalities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of the country whose economies are furthest behind. The UKSPF aims to achieve this objective by strengthening the foundations of productivity as set out in the UK's Industrial Strategy to support people to benefit from economic prosperity; and
- A simplified, integrated fund, whereas EU Structural Funds have been regarded as difficult to access, the simplified administration for the UKSPF will ensure that investments are targeted effectively to align with the challenges faced by places across the country and supported by strong evidence about what works at the local level.
According to the Conservative Party website the UKSPF will be introduced from April 2021.
8. Which organisations may apply for UKSPF?
We understand any organisation with a UK based project will be able to apply for UKSPF, whether from the public, private or third sector.
9. Which organisations will deliver the UKSPF?
The UKSPF shall operate across the UK. In the devolved administrations it is understood that the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the Northern Irish Executive will manage the funds.
In England, is it expected that the UKSPF will be delivered by:
- Mayoral Combined Authorities (currently the North of Tyne, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, the Tees Valley, Sheffield City Region, the West of England and the West Midlands); and
- Local Enterprise Partnerships, which have been tasked with developing local industrial strategies.
However the above has yet to be confirmed and there may be a role for other public sector bodies in delivering the UKSPF, including Local Government.
10. What kinds of projects shall the UKSPF support?
Although there has been speculation that the UKSPF will be focused upon clean energy research and development; green-collar jobs such as those connected to wind farms, it is more likely that local input will determine the types of projects supported, taking note of each Local Industrial Strategy.
The Conservative Party Manifesto from December 2019 includes a commitment that "£500 million of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is used to give disadvantaged people the skills they need to make a success of life."
The Conservative Party website states "The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be designed to make sure that it helps the most vulnerable. Targeted support will mean that disadvantaged individuals, such as a young person struggling with their mental health or an ex-offender released into the community, can have access to services that fill gaps in normal statutory provision to help them into work. This funding will allow organisations such as charities and other third-party bodies to deliver a wide range of support for people across the UK. This will be delivered on in conjunction and on top of existing skills programmes."
It is speculated that the former Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry MP will have a role in the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, noting his involvement in the design and that he leads the Northern Research Group. As a Minister he championed the use of public funds to address regional inequalities and in December 2019 revealed that a "large chunk" of the UKSPF will be dedicated to the North of England.
DWF's Alexander Rose put forward the idea of coordinating the UKSPF with the design of the new UK subsidy control regime in evidence to the House of Lords EU Committee in March 2020.
11. How will the UKSPF be allocated?
Our UK Shared Prosperity Fund group on Linkedin provides a forum for those interested in the UKSPF to discuss the fund in more detail and share the latest news.
Please find a downloadable version of this article here.