Denbighshire County Council welcomes the UK Government’s announcement that the North Wales Regional Investment plan for the Shared Prosperity Fund has been approved.
On 13 April 2022, the UK Government published detail about how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will work (external website). This replaces funding which the council originally received from Europe.
Denbighshire County Council has been allocated a total of £25.6 million to invest over three years. This is broken down into £21.2 million of core funding and £4.4 million for the national 'Multiply' programme.
We now have the opportunity to accelerate our plans for the fund, and build on our emerging Corporate Plan themes. We will develop an investment plan to deliver fair employment and good work for all, and create and develop sustainable places and communities that we can be proud of.
The investment plan will be submitted to government by 1 August 2022.
The plan will take account of the three themes of the fund as set out by Government:
- Communities and place
- Local businesses
- People and skills
In developing the plan, we will be mindful of the fund's objectives set by government:
- Boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards
- Spread opportunities and improve public services
- Restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging
- Empower local leaders and communities
To develop our local investment plan, we will work in partnership with councillors, MPs and local stakeholders including businesses and residents.
The investment plan - whilst written at a Denbighshire delivery level - will also be aligned with a regional investment plan to show how we are working with neighbouring authorities - Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Flintshire and Wrexham - to share learning and best practise and identify areas for collaboration where greater benefits for residents may be delivered better across a wider geography.
Regional Investment Plan
The Regional Investment Plan was submitted to the UK Government on 1 August 2022, since then the six local authorities in North Wales have been working hard to make preparations for managing the fund (including recruiting teams to manage the fund, designing the application forms and the application process) on the assumption that the Plan would be accepted. It should be noted, however, that details of how the Shared Prosperity Fund will be provided have remained uncertain. Consequently, Denbighshire County Council – in line with its neighbouring North Wales local authorities – will only be able to progress applications once the required details have been received and considered.
The following information will be of interest to potential applicants (and is consistent across North Wales):
- We are committed to the principle of local decision making
- North Wales is seeking to have a 2-stage process so applicants can get an early sense of whether their proposal is likely to be supported
- We will publish a short document summarising the process and the region and local areas’ priorities for investment
- Flexibility will be built in, to facilitate projects looking to deliver in one Local Authority (LA), every LA in North Wales, or a combination of LAs
- The default approach to delivery will be via competitive grants, but we may consider commissioning / procurement if lack of interest within a Priority Investment (also retaining the potential for direct delivery in 2022 / 2023 due to time pressure)
- We anticipate that UKSPF applications will be generally be larger in scale (i.e. with a value of over £250k). All local areas are looking to establish intermediary funds to support smaller projects by communities and businesses
- We will need to commit funds early in the programme (within the first six months) as time for delivery is short (by March 2025)
- Current advice for potential applicants is to not simply wait for the systems and structures to be in place. Groundwork can be done now, and there is nothing to preclude starting to engage with partners / stakeholders about potential activities to ensure they are well developed and have broad support when the time comes
- All potential applicants are encouraged to review the Interventions that Denbighshire has prioritised (due to alignment with local strategic objectives), along with their associated Outputs and Outcomes, and the level of capital and revenue monies available each year. These Interventions have come direct from the UK Government, and Denbighshire has clustered them thematically