How does the Shared Prosperity Fund benefit rural communities?

“The LGA has consistently called for the domestic replacement for EU funding, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), to be a locally determined fund driven by democratic accountable councils and combined authorities.”

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The government published its ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’ in April:

This government’s central mission to level up the whole of the United Kingdom is about many things.
It is about levelling up opportunity and prosperity and overcoming deep-seated geographical inequalities that have held us back for too long.
It is also, fundamentally, about levelling up people’s pride in the places they love and seeing that reflected back in empowered local leaders and communities, a stronger social fabric and better life chances.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus – GOV.UK

Here’s comment from the Local Government Association:

The LGA has consistently called for the domestic replacement for EU funding, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), to be a locally determined fund driven by democratic accountable councils and combined authorities. While we welcome the direction of travel towards local control of funds, there are a number of issues that the Government will need to address to reach the potential of the fund…

Briefing on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus | Local Government Association

Looking at some of those issues, the Farmers’ Guardian was very positive:

UK Shared Prosperity Fund to benefit rural areas – Rural Services Network

Whereas the voluntary sector was less enthusiastic:

Charities disappointed and concerned about Shared Prosperity Fund details

The response at the time from the West Country was also mixed:

Plymouth’s EU replacement funding branded ‘derisory’ – Plymouth Live

Boost for North Devon as £1.2million allocated to tackle economic decline – Devon Live

Cornwall set to get less than half of its replacement EU funding but Conservatives welcome announcement – Cornwall Live

Here’s an interesting take from Renaud Foucart of Lancaster University, published today:

… the UK recently launched the shared prosperity fund to replace EU-allocated funds to its poorest regions. The new system is much more centralised than before and it is hard to know how much previous funding will be matched. Centralised regional development funds can also be prone to favouritism and political patronage, which in the UK would reduce the credibility of the government in its plans to “level up” the country.

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And finally and also from today, the Rural Services Network asks a few pertinent questions – from the perspective of those living in the countryside:

On 13 April Government published the eagerly awaited UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus, to find out how rural communities have fared we have produced a Rural Lens Review of the Prospectus and Allocations.

Our key findings at a glance are as follows…

We welcome that through the Fund there will be developed an evidence base. If there is a specific effort to learn rural lessons, this could be a real opportunity, over time, to demonstrate what works in a rural context and will, we believe, also demonstrate that it costs more to deliver in rural areas and that less outcomes/outputs can be achieved from the same level of funding.

Rural Lens Review of UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus and Allocations – Rural Services Network

   
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