Wales will receive £585 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) launched earlier this month. Here, we provide a short summary of the new Fund and what it means for Wales.

What is the UKSPF?

The UKSPF is a government-allocated fund set up to help spread opportunity and level up the country. The Fund aims to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. To achieve this, it has three investment priorities: communities and place; supporting local business; and people and skills.

The UKSPF will provide £2.6 billion of funding between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5 billion per year by March 2025. This includes £1.58 billion for England, £212 million for Scotland, £585 million for Wales and £127 million for Northern Ireland.

Why is the UKSPF being introduced?

The UKSPF is part of the Levelling Up agenda and replaces money previously allocated to communities through EU Structural Funds. According to the UK Government, it will be less bureaucratic and give more control to locally elected leaders. There will also be no requirement for match funding.

How will the UKSPF be delivered?

In England, Scotland and Wales, local governments will be responsible for developing an investment plan for approval by the UK government, and for delivery of the Fund’s interventions thereafter. However, the UK government will retain oversight of the Fund in Northern Ireland.

Welsh Government reaction

The UK Government say that the scheme fulfils a promise to match previous EU funding. But according to Welsh Government estimates, Wales would have received EU Structural funding worth at least £375 million per year had the UK remained in the EU. Instead, Wales will receive a total of £585 million from the Shared Prosperity Fund over the next three years – around £195 million a year. This has led First Minister Mark Drakeford to accuse the UK Government of ‘levelling down’ Wales through the new Fund.

You can read more about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund here.