Time running out to replace EU funding, charity sector leaders warn

The government is being urged to avoid delays in replace European Union structural funds, which are “now rapidly coming to an end” following Brexit, according to the NCVO.

The funding is to be replaced by the UK government with a Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), which was first mooted in 2017 and is due to launch in the spring.

But the sector body says “significant concerns” remain around the design and delivery of the fund.

“People experiencing the greatest disadvantage will lose essential support and access to opportunities if the SPF does not quickly and meaningfully replace EU funding,” the NCVO added.

“Many organisations will be unable to sustain the capacity, expertise and infrastructure that currently support places and communities.”

Also calling for a swift and effective funding to replace EU money with the NCVO is the Employment Related Services Association.

They want ministers to “immediately commit to investment in people and skills” in the SPF and not delay this until 2024/25.

The new funding should also “address inequalities and protect and promote human rights”.

Ministers should also ensure that good practice involved in other levelling up funding is used to design and delivery the SPF. Devolved nations also need to be involved in delivering the fund.

“Funding that’s supported communities for decades is about to be cut off, with little information about what will replace it,” warns the NCVO.

It adds: “If delivered effectively, the SPF will be a critical pillar of levelling up. Delivery partners with decades of experience stand ready across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to continue their support for people experiencing disadvantage and inequality, but this requires funding and information from the government.

“The people and communities supported by EU structural funding will be further disadvantaged if the government fails to take action on the design and delivery of the SPF.”

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