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The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a Government-allocated fund which is intended to reduce inequalities between communities, as part of the Government’s wider “levelling up” agenda. This Fund was first announced in 2017, but details have been slow to emerge. The Fund was launched with the publication of its full prospectus on 13 April 2022.

The UK Community Renewal Fund, which was launched in 2021, was intended to help bridge the gap between the end of EU funding and the start of the new UKSPF.

How will funding be allocated?

In total, the Fund will provide £1.5 billion per year by 2024/25. The UKSPF’s prospectus says that funding will be allocated to local areas across the UK using formulas rather than by inviting competitive bids. The formulas largely replicate the amounts that areas received from the EU structural funds, with some needs-based adjustments within areas.

After allocations are announced, local areas will have to create and submit investment plans detailing how they intend to spend the money. The Fund will focus on three priorities: communities and place, local businesses, and people and skills. The Multiply adult numeracy programme will come under the last of these.

Comparisons with EU structural funding

A number of people and organisations have compared the UKSPF with the structural funding that it is intended to replace. The areas of responsibility covered by the Fund and the amount of money provided are broadly similar, but the way in which funding is controlled and allocated is very different, particularly in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Reactions to the Fund

The devolved administrations have reacted broadly negatively to the Fund, although some organisations have welcomed other aspects of the Fund’s design, such as the role of local authorities.

Future developments

Local authorities have now been invited to create and submit their investment plans. The plans will be examined and approved over the summer. Funding will then begin once the plans are finalised.


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