There are clear ‘winners and losers’ in Wales when the new Levelling Up Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund map is compared to the previous EU Structural Funds. And for the first time since devolution local authorities can by-pass Welsh Government and bid directly to Westminster, and there’s a new funding innovation with MP’s helping to boost the number of projects funded in each area.
Announced with yesterdays Budget the UK Government published the prospectus documents on how local areas in Wales can submit bids for the Levelling Up Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund (or Community Renewal Fund for 2021-22).
In addition to the controversy over local authorities being able to by-pass Welsh Government and make bids directly to Westminster for these funds, they were also strongly anticipated to be a direct replacement for EU structural funds in Wales. We have identified where these new funds are prioritised and compared them to the EU Structural Funds map of Wales.
‘Winners and Losers’
- Powys is clearly the major winner having gone from a ‘more developed area’ outside of the main EU programme to a priority area under both the Levelling Up and Shared Prosperity funds
- Caerphilly and Bridgend not included in the Shared Prosperity Fund priority area and potentially misses out on replacement EU funds.
- Wrexham gains new funding opportunities through the Levelling Up Fund whilst both Gwynedd and Anglesey miss out
- Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Newport make no progress in the funding stakes.
Levelling Up Fund – impactful infrastructure projects – those that help bring pride to a local area – are often smaller in scale and geography: regenerating a town centre, local investment in cultural facilities or upgrading local transport infrastructure. Delivered by local authorities who can submit one bid for every MP whose constituency lies wholly within their boundary. Every local authority can submit at least one bid. While preference will be given to bids from higher priority areas (shown in the figure), the bandings do not represent eligibility criteria, nor the amount or number of bids a place can submit. Bids from other categories (2 and 3) will still be considered for funding on their merits of deliverability, value for money and strategic fit, and could still be successful if they are of exceptionally high quality. (targets 17 local authority areas in Wales)
Shared Prosperity Fund – EU Structural Funds will continue until 2023 and replaced through the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (£1.5 billion a year). This new Fund, to be launched in 2022, will operate through the UK Government but to start with the UK Community Renewal Fund being provided for 2021-22. (targets 14 local authority areas in Wales)