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  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund: What does it mean for Fife?

    Created: 30/06/2022

    The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and replaces legacy structural EU funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

    This Fund is a mix of revenue and capital funding which can be used to support a wide range of interventions to build pride in place and improve life chances across local communities in the UK.

    The full Fund prospectus was published earlier in June 2022.

    Managing the UKSP investment in Fife:

    Local Authorities will plan and deliver the Fund and are expected to draw on the expertise of local partners including the third sector, private sector, rural representatives, education/skills providers, regional representatives of arms-length bodies of government, the Scottish Government, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, and Members of Parliament.

    *MPs will not be involved in deciding projects, but there is a formal expectation set by the UK Government that MPs remain aware of their relevant local authorities’ Investment Plan and governance arrangement.

    Fife Council is responsible for planning and delivering the Fund in our communities and is in the process of developing an Investment Plan, which sets out how it will target the funding on local priorities against measurable goals. The focus of investment will be underpinned by the Plan4Fife, Fife Economic Strategy (due for refresh in 2022), the prioritisation of Mid Fife, and Community Wealth Building.

    Once this is in place, it unlocks three years of UKSPF investment.

    Key dates:

    • The Investment Plan must be submitted by 01 August 2022.
    • In 2022-23, funding will be paid once the local investment plan has been signed off.
    • In 2023-24 and 2024-25, payment of funding will be at the start of the financial year.

    Fife’s allocation of the UKSPF and investment priorities:

    Fife’s allocation of the UKSPF comes under the proportion allocated for the Edinburgh and South East region, which amounts to £40m.

    In total, Fife will receive £13.4 m and the payments will rise incrementally over the three year funding period (e.g. Year1: £2m, Year2: £3.5m, Year 3: £7.8m).

    Investment priorities include:

    • Communities and place (examples include: improving community assets to help reach net zero targets, digital infrastructure to enhance Wi-Fi availability in community buildings, active travel projects, capacity and resilience activities such as volunteering or social action, natural environments and green spaces within communities, town centre regeneration)
    • Business support (examples include: creating jobs and boosting community cohesions, promoting networking and collaboration, extending provision supported previously through ERDF such as expert help for local businesses, start up and/or development support for social enterprises, development of sector action plans (e.g food and drink))
    • People and skills (can be used to bolster relevant aspects of current No One Left Behind delivery with a particular focus on place, build on existing approaches to support partnership work, co-design of activity and engaging those with lived experience, enhance existing work that allows Fife Council to work with a greater number of economically inactive and disadvantaged people in Fife, and a possible regional proposal to develop a defined skills pathway for green economy jobs – Net Zero Accelerator project)

    The new Fund also includes over £36 million for Scotland for an adult numeracy programme, Multiply, which will support people with no or low-level maths skills to get back into work. The scheme will offer free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses to improve adults’ confidence and numeracy skills. This features within the budget for Fife.

    Delivering the investment in Fife:

    The proposed ways of delivering the fund in Fife include:

    • Competitions for grant funding
    • Procurement
    • Commissioning; or
    • Delivering some activity through in-house teams.

    Fife Council will design the project selection and contracting processes so it has the mechanisms to recover funding where beneficiaries do not comply with fund parameters, UK law or any local requirements. Any underspend must be returned at the end of each financial year.

    There is no requirement for match funding.

    Regional/local collaboration and national organisations:

    Within the UKSPF, there is scope for local and regional collaboration. The direction of investment will be determined using the ESES Regional Prosperity Framework  and Tay Cities Region Economic Strategy.

    Regional projects will only be considered for 2024/25 funding.

    UKSPF is primarily used for local investments so national organisations will have to consider the need for their work within the local area and contact the Local Authority to see if they would consider investment.

    Local authority reporting commitments:

    Fife Council will report data every six months (with qualitative updates required on a more frequent basis) to ensure that allocations are being spent to agreed timescales and milestones, including achievement of outputs and outcomes at the project level. Prior to each annual payment, Fife Council will be asked to complete a report for the UK Government.

    The milestones, expectations and timescales will be set out in a Memorandum of Understanding.

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