£2.6 billion of levelling up funding will be awarded to communities across the UK through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (‘UKSPF’), the Government has announced.
The UKSPF invests in local communities by helping to regenerate high streets, tackle economic decline, and reverse geographical inequalities – with areas in greater need receiving more support. The funding is part of the Government’s mission to level up the UK, by ensuring that where an individual is born does not determine the success and opportunities afforded to them.
The funding delivers on the UK government’s commitment to match the previous EU funding from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund. However, the fund will be much more flexible and locally led, freeing communities from the bureaucratic, rigid and complex processes of the EU Structural Funds.
Bureaucracy will be slashed, and there will be far more discretion over what money is spent on. EU requirements for match funding, which impacted on poorer places, will be abolished. Instead of regional agencies, funding decisions will be made by elected leaders in local government, with input from local members of parliament and local businesses and voluntary groups.
The fund also includes a new £559 million adult numeracy programme for the whole UK, Multiply, which will support people with no or low-level maths skills get back into work. The scheme will offer free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses to improve adults’ confidence and numeracy skills.
Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the news that as part of this investment, £2,945,472 has been awarded to Worcester.
Commenting, Robin said:
“I am incredibly proud of Worcester and know that our best days lie ahead. I am determined to work with the Government to ensure that everyone from our area is able to reach their full potential.
“That is why I welcome the investment of nearly £3 million for Worcester, which can be used across a range of projects from supporting adults who lack basic numeracy skills, helping young people into good jobs, and regenerating our high streets.
“This investment will help to local residents to fulfil their potential, while reducing regional inequalities that have been left untouched for too long. I look forward to working with colleagues in our community to ensure this money has maximum impact."
Commenting, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:
“We have taken back control of our money from the EU and we are empowering local communities to deliver on their priorities, rather than unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
“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.”