Does our LEP have a plan B to replace European funding? And will it be a “functional economic area”?

“The Conservative manifesto earlier this year promised the government would use structural fund money that comes back to the UK following Brexit to create a UK “shared prosperity fund”.

However, deep concerns have been voiced about the replacement of EU structural funding. This week, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Lord Haskins aired doubts about the scale of the proposed fund.

He told the Hull Daily Mail that “so far, there is no indication it will match the sort of money we are currently getting from Europe”.

He added: “Long-term, I think we will have to start looking at other sources of funding for vital infrastructure work.”

The LGA also wants a new approach to distributing Westminster money that replaces EU regional aid, calling for a “single pot” for all domestic growth funding.

The association outlined three options for the future of funding currently sourced from the European Union. Its preferred method would see European Union structural funding, all other European funding streams and 70 UK funding streams supporting growth and regeneration pooled together.

The document said: “Under the single pot principle, local areas would be afforded maximum flexibility to target need and tailor provision, to stimulate growth in local areas and contribute to the national economy .”

The pot would be most effectively distributed to regional “functional economic areas” (FEAs) in England, and “appropriately identified” bodies in the devolved nations, the report said.

“In England, the FEAs could arguably follow the funding distribution geography of the current European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programme,” the report added. It argued this would offer “much greater control over funding decisions , which would be devolved to all local areas.” …”