£250m EU replacement fund payments begin after charities criticised delays

15 Dec 2022 News

The government has confirmed it will begin distributing over £250m to local authorities from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) this month after charity bodies criticised delays.

In the autumn statement, £400m of EU replacement funding that the government previously pledged to distribute in the current financial year appeared to have been removed. 

But the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has now confirmed that over £250m worth of grants to local authorities will be made by the end of March 2023, still around £150m shy of what was pledged in the spring statement.

Charity sector think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) welcomed the news, while other organisations urged the government to distribute the funds quickly as charities are hit by the cost-of-living crisis. 

NPC: ‘Charities will be pleased to see this funding has now been allocated’

Theo Clay, policy manager at NPC, said: “Charities will be pleased to see this funding has now been allocated, and that unlike other targeted levelling up funds, which have mostly gone to physical infrastructure, our analysis shows that most of this money will go on revenue in the first year.

“But charities don’t yet have details of whether this will be allocated to the areas they work on, and local authorities will need to move very fast to distribute it by the end of March, as will any charities applying for it. This leaves little time for consultation with local people or organisations.

“Charities now face the daunting task of having to ask for and look through over 200 individual prospectuses from lead authorities to find out exactly what type of projects are eligible. Without clearer information, we don’t yet know if lead authorities will bring forward funding for charities in England providing skills programmes to avoid a funding cliff edge as EU money runs out, so some charities could be facing a worrying Christmas.”

CFG: ‘Disappointing that distribution hasn’t even started yet’

Dr Clare Mills, director of policy and communications at CFG, said the government must act without further delay on getting funds to local authorities. 

She said: “The government needs to take urgent action and distribute funds without further delay. The sooner those funds reach councils, the sooner they can be used to positively impact local communities across the four nations. It's disappointing that distribution hasn't even started yet. 

“The UKSPF remains central to the delivery of the government's levelling up agenda. Money must be disbursed efficiently and used to support the creation of the social infrastructure that is needed to tackle structural and regional inequality.”

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