£220m for new Community Renewal Fund
The Government has announced a £220m investment in a new Community Renewal Fund which will prepare 100 priority places for a successful transition from existing EU structural funding, to the the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will succeed it.
The UK pays for EU structural funds through its EU Budget contributions. Local areas will continue to spend investment from EU structural funds until the end of 2023. In addition to this existing investment, the Government is providing funding in 2021-22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund. This Fund aims to support local communities to pilot programmes and new approaches, aligning national and local provision.
“We want people across all parts of the UK to see, feel, and experience the benefits as we bounce back and level up,” said Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The UK Community Renewal Fund provides an additional £220 million of investment in 2021-22, to support local areas to pilot imaginative new approaches and programmes that unleash their potential, and prepare them to take full advantage of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund when it launches in 2022.
The UK government will work directly with local partners, so that the people that know their places best are front and centre of the decisions that impact their areas and lives. This Fund will also provide capacity funding to help places prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Leaving the European Union is viewed as an opportunity to change the way the Government supports local communities, and the new funding is intended to enable the replacement of EU structural funds with a domestic successor better suited to the UK and its priorities for people and places.
In designing a new programme, the Government has worked closely with stakeholders to understand how it can design a fund which better meets UK priorities.
As part of this outreach, 25 engagement events have been held across the UK, attended by more than 500 representatives from a variety of sectors. The fund will continue to work closely with businesses, Mayoral Combined Authorities, Local Councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, higher education institutions, voluntary and charity sector organisations, and rural partnership groups.
According to the Government, the fund will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through:
Quicker delivery of funding including providing £220 million to spend in 2021-22 to help local areas transition away from EU structural funds.
Better targeting for places in need, for example ex-industrial communities, coastal communities, rural areas and deprived towns, and for people most in need of additional support.
Better alignment with domestic priorities moving away from a focus on overly prescriptive, siloed priority axes and instead enabling more holistic, joined-up investment based on local insight.
Cutting burdensome EU bureaucracy including nurturing innovative proposals and reducing forms and targets that have created an unsustainable burden and led to a focus on outputs not outcomes.