Future UK prosperty fund, EU Settlement Scheme, employment, migration and key workers.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Since the referendum, the LGA has been lobbying Government to ensure that there was a domestic replacement for EU funds. The Spending Review contains the “Heads of Terms” for the UKSPF (the Government’s replacement of the European Structural and Investment Funds) and confirms that the fund will be at least £1.5 billion a year. We welcome the clarity this announcement has brought to local government, and we look forward to further detail.
Local government has made an offer to co-design the programme with Government and the investment framework for local areas that sits behind this. The investment proposals and specific outcomes defined in the UK wide investment framework need to be locally determined by councils and combined authorities, who have a democratic mandate to represent their communities, as well as respect current local decision making and devolution agreements.
The additional £220 million to help local areas transition to the UKSPF in 2021/22 by running pilots and new approaches is welcomed and prevents a financial cliff edge. The Government must now work with all local areas to ensure there is a smooth transition to the new funding regime.
EU Settlement Scheme
The LGA and councils are working with their communities and the Home Office to ensure that residents and workers are able to apply for settlement within deadlines.
Employment, migration and key workers
Social care is one of the sectors most vulnerable to migration rules changes because a significant proportion of the workforce are not UK nationals. It is a largely commissioned service with relatively few direct local government employees. As the main commissioners of services, councils have a strong interest in ensuring workforce stability as a key factor in good quality social care provision. Recruitment is already difficult in this sector.
EU nationals make up 7 per cent of the social care workforce and any changes will have significant consequences. Importantly there are variations according to place ranging from 12 per cent of the workforce in London to 2 per cent of the workforce in the North East, emphasising the differential impact of EU exit on places, which confirms our discussions with councils.
The Government’s new points based immigration system that was announced in July will have a significant impact on the future of the social care workforce. 72 per cent of social care occupations do not meet the qualification threshold of an A Level equivalent and most earn significantly below the new salary threshold of £25,600. Around 750,000 care workers earn below £20,480 – the absolute minimum salary threshold of the future points-based system.
55 per cent of the adult social care workforce are care workers who fall outside of the scope of this review.
Key documents on the new immigration system
- Main employers points-based immigration system guidance page, with the employer guide and shareable social assets: www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information
- General points-based immigration system info page for both migrants and employers: www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know
- The Home Office Hiring from the EU page: www.gov.uk/hiringfromtheeu
Local government advice on legislation
We will continue to work with MHCLG for a (non-statutory) replacement for the work that was developed by the EU Committee of Regions.
LGA contact: EUtransition@local.gov.uk
To sign up to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government bulletin that includes updates on the transition period, please email: LGEngagement@communities.gov.uk
Please note page will be updated regularly to reflect developments as the trade conclude. The page does not provide formal advice on EU transition to councils. It provides a checklist of the issues that LGA has been asked to raise with Government by its membership. Formal Government guidance can be found here: Preparing local government for 1 January 2021 (gov.uk)