William Eichler 24 September 2019

Council chiefs say they ‘desperately’ need certainty on post-Brexit funding

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to ‘urgently publish’ its plans for a scheme to replace Brussels funding when the UK leaves the European Union.

In July 2018, the Government committed to consulting on plans for replacing funding from the EU with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). However, the findings are yet to be published.

The Local Government Association (LGA) argues that EU funding has been a ‘life-line for local economies’. Since 2014 councils have received £5.3bn from Brussels, which has been invested in targeted training and job support for residents and businesses.

The LGA warns that the ongoing uncertainty over post-Brexit funding is stopping councils from securing vital investment into their local areas.

They also called on Whitehall to give elected mayors and local leaders a say in how UKSPF works.

‘Councils desperately need long-term certainty around how the UK will replace vital EU regional aid funding,’ said Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the LGA’s Brexit taskforce.

‘A fully-funded, locally-driven UKSPF is central to improving people’s lives, supporting local businesses and boosting the national economy. Without further clarity, growth and investment in local areas is at risk.

‘Councils want to work with the Government to ensure the UKSPF is developed quickly and to ensure that no area is left without investment into their communities and all parts of the country can benefit from the growth they so desperately need.’

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