UK Government didn’t give much away about the Shared Prosperity Fund in the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review, but it did release details of those who successfully bid under the first rounds of the Community Ownership and Levelling Up Funds.
UK Shared Prosperity Fund
We weren’t expecting too much detail about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Budget and Spending Review and our expectations were very much met. It did confirm that the Fund will invest in people, communities and local business and will, as a minimum, match the size of EU funds in each nation. However, the full allocation of £1.5billion will not be achieved until 2024-25, with £0.4billion set aside for 2022-23 and £0.7billion set aside for 2023-24. UK Government did announce that a sizeable proportion of the funding will be used to finance the Multiply scheme – a £560million adult numeracy programme, which will support people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with numeracy skills to increase their employment and earnings prospects.
We’re expecting further information about the Shared Prosperity Fund in the Levelling Up White Paper – due to be published by the end of the year.
Community Ownership Fund
The first round of the Community Ownership Fund (COF) launched in the summer. The aim of the COF is to support communities to take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure. 21 projects were approved overall, with three in Wales – £250,000 for the Ty’n Llan pub in Gwynedd, £124,258 for the CANA Resource and Training Centre in Rhondda Cynon Taf and £90,000 for the refurbishment and redevelopment of the Queens Ballroom in Blaenau Gwent.
A second bidding round is expected to open in December.
Levelling Up Fund
The aim of the Levelling Up Fund is to upgrade local infrastructure, from cultural assets through to local transport improvements. £1.7billion worth of projects was announced under the first bidding round of the £4.8billion Levelling Up Fund. 10 awards were made in Wales totalling £121million, including £15.5million for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal in Powys, £5.4million for the Muni Arts Centre and £16.8million for the Tywi Valley Path – a dedicated cycle and walking path between Carmarthen and Llandeilo.
Community Renewal Fund
Something missing from the Budget and Spending Review was an announcement about the Community Renewal Fund and project awards. However, the successful bids were announced a week later (a few months later than planned) with 165 projects approved in Wales totalling over £46.8million.
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