Today’s Western Morning News:
The amount of ‘levelling up’ money the South West is being given to make up for the loss of European Union funding has been described as “derisory” by a business leader.
Tim Jones, chairman of the South West Business Council, said the sums do not match the amount councils could have expected had Brexit not happened. But he added that it also means the region now has to look to a future where it won’t be able to rely on Government handouts to prop up the economy.
The Shared Prosperity Fund is an allocation for the years 2022/23 to 2024/25 and comes with cash for adult numeracy programme Multiply. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will get £129,549,117 from the SPF and £2,452,414 from Multiply, while Mr Jones said Devon’s total is about £15m – far less than the old EU funding the counties could have expected.
Mr Jones said: “It’s disappointing. The amount of money is derisory in terms of what we can do with it.”
However, he added: “But it’s long overdue that we got to this stage, where we are no longer looking to Whitehall to bail us out. We have said on numerous occasions that we need to be weaned off European money.
“The Shared Prosperity Fund has come around the corner and there’s nothing there, so we will have to do things ourselves, we will have to stand on our own feet. It’s a real wake-up call.”
In total, areas across England will receive £1.5bn from the fund.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Bureaucracy will be slashed, and there will be far more discretion over what money is spent on.”