The UK Government’s newly launched “Shared Prosperity Fund” to replace in full all European Union (EU) funding lost to Scotland after Brexit, is £337 million lower than the EU equivalent.
Only £212 million was to Scotland over a three-year period, when EU funding would have been worth £549 million.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund sees Scotland allocated £32 million in 2022-2023, £55 million in 2023-24 and £125 million in 2024-25. Even the third year of funding delivers less than Scotland received before the UK’s EU Exit.
Shared Prosperity funding is allocated over three years but delivered as single year payments and any underspend must be returned by local authorities to the UK Government at the end of each year.
Councils were asked to draw up investment plans for their allocations, however the UK Government’s turmoil that resulted in three prime ministers in four months has caused a delay in having these bids accepted.
The new fund which is distributed exclusively through local authorities, costs huge sums in putting together applications and risks the loss of the services which community and Third Sector groups provided with EU support.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The UK Government is clearly failing to ensure the needs of Scotland’s people and communities are properly met.
“Not only is the funding 60% lower than during our EU membership but political incompetence and economic mismanagement has led to continual delays in providing these funds.
“Previously the SNP Government allocated EU funding. However the UK Government has ignored the devolution settlement and failed to recognise the SNP Government’s remit in devolved areas.
“During Scotland’s valued membership of the EU, funding has supported infrastructure projects and community initiatives across the country since the 1970s, with Scotland receiving and delivering more than £6 billion.
“The UK needs to make good its promises and restore the money lost to Scotland because of Brexit.”