We have submitted our response to the Welsh Affairs Committee consultation on Wales and the Shared Prosperity Fund.
Key points from the response include:
- Structural funds have had a substantial impact on the third sector in Wales and subsequently those individuals who are the hardest to reach, and our most disadvantaged communities.
- Flexible payment models must be incorporated into any successor fund to ensure third sector organisations are not excluded from delivery.
- The existing seven-year programme cycles, of the Structural Funds programme, which enable projects to be funded for three years and longer, are favoured over those aligned to conventional political and budgetary terms. A longer term financial commitment provides security and stability for the planning and delivery of projects.
- The principles that underpin the Cross Cutting Themes (CCTs): tackling poverty, equality of opportunity and environmental sustainability should be incorporated into any proposed successor fund and any initiatives it subsequently funds.
- The successor fund should allow for greater flexibility to work between regions whilst not losing sight of the additional economic needs within the existing WWV region.
- The use of volunteer hours as a contribution towards match funding both acknowledges the true value of their time and makes the funding more accessible to many third sector organisations by removing the need to provide cash match funding.
- Covid 19 will have a significant effect on the economy of Wales but there will be a disproportionate effect on those communities already facing significant challenge following the years of austerity we have seen. These communities must not be left behind, and a holistic package of support must be put in place to assist all sectors, not just business.
- Any new successor fund, where possible, should support and encourage income generation to ensure the long term sustainability of organisations.
- Any successor to the Structural Funds should support measures that address the root causes of long term unemployment as opposed to interventions which address the issue of unemployment itself.
- The distribution and allocation of the Fund should be based on each nation’s need.