Charities will have to wait until the summer for information about applying for post-Brexit government funding, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said yesterday.
The statement, made during a webinar hosted by the Charity Tax Group, suggests that the timetable for releasing details about the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) has been delayed.
Experts at the webinar confirmed that the SPF, which the government says will make £1.5bn available to local communities by 2024, will open in April 2022.
Fund details 'in the summer months'
The SPF will replace European Union structural funding, which distributed money to charities and other organisations addressing regional inequality. Those funds are unavailable now Britain has left the EU.
A speaker from DCMS told the online audience: “We are expecting a prospectus in the summer months on the fund itself, and that will provide more information as to how organisations can apply for funding and support some of the outcomes outlined as part of the UK SPF.”
Government ministers had previously told Parliament that the prospectus would be released “in the new year”, but charities could now have to wait until June at the earliest.
The three priority areas for SPF are helping people train for work, improving community infrastructure like cultural venues and green space, and supporting local businesses.
More on SPF in the spending review
The DCMS speaker also confirmed that charities will have access to a £220m “bridge fund” during this financial year to help local organisations prepare to make applications to the SPF.
The SPF will open in April next year, centrally managed from Whitehall by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, with local authorities leading engagement rather than local enterprise partnerships, the webinar heard.
There will be “a little more information” in the spending review later this year, the speaker added
'Make your voices heard'
A representative from the legal firm Bates Wells, which specialises in charity law, reminded the audience that government consultations were still open on a range of issues, including the SPF and post-Brexit procurement rules, and urged charities to “make your voices heard”.
Advising trading charities who needed to use the new post-Brexit customs declarations system, a speaker from the British Universities Finance Directors Group, said: “There is no avoiding them. Plan well before you start moving anything, because you will need more time than you thought to get things organised.”