"To help ensure we have an economy fit for the future, we are urging the Government to act immediately to consult on the detail of what the fund will look like."
Responding to the Brexit White Paper published today, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Brexit Taskforce, said:
“The publication of the White Paper gives us a clearer understanding of what the Government’s vision of post-Brexit Britain will look like. This includes the acknowledgement from the Government of the importance of replacing EU regional funding, currently worth £8.4 billion, with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (USKPF), following extensive lobby by the LGA.
“Brexit cannot leave local areas facing huge financial uncertainty as a result of lost regional aid funding. This funding has been used by local areas to create jobs, support small and medium enterprises, deliver skills training, and invest in critical transport and digital infrastructure and boost inclusive growth across the country.
“To help ensure we have an economy fit for the future, we are urging the Government to act immediately to consult on the detail of what the fund will look like. Councils need to know quickly how they will be able to bid, receive guarantees that the UKSPF will at least match the funding from the current European Structural Fund and receive their funding allocations by the time we leave the EU.
“Without action there is a risk that billions of pounds of investment into our communities will be lost and local areas and economies will be denied desperately-needed funding.
“The White Paper also acknowledges the issue of EU nationals being able to apply to come and work in the UK. This is of particular importance to local government as, for example, 7 per cent of social care workers are non-UK EU nationals. The LGA is keen to work with the Government to ensure that these vital public servants can continue doing this vital work caring for the elderly and most vulnerable in our society.”
Notes to editors
The LGA has set out clear options to both mitigate risks and capitalise on opportunities which may arise from Brexit in their recent publication ‘Brexit: Moving the conversation on’ which was launched at the LGA’s Annual Conference.