Spending Review is another missed chance on ‘levelling up’

By Sir Stephen Houghton | 09 November 2021

The Government has promised multiple times that the UK Shared Prosperity Funding will match that lost from EU structural funding, however the Spending Review, finally announcing the funding profile, showed the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will be just £2.6bn over the next three years – only reaching the annual EU level in the last year of the Review period. EU funding went disproportionately to deprived areas and so will be a crucial component of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. If EU levels had been maintained then the value of UKSPF in the Review would have been more than £4bn.

It is understandable that the funding cannot reach the full level immediately and must ‘ramp up’ over the next three years. However, we left the EU five years ago. It is shocking that we are only just getting detail about the replacement scheme now – this should have been in place and ready to match EU funding seamlessly. The delay is even more inexplicable when you consider that there has been no proper consultation and local authorities have been continuously left out of the loop.

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