Communities across Wales will benefit from £585 million of investment in skills, improved high streets, support for local business and more green spaces as the UK government approves spending plans for funding previously run by the European Union.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund succeeds EU structural funding with the UK Government working closely with local leaders in Wales to direct funding where it is most needed.
Under the investment plans approved, Wales is receiving at least as much funding as it did before.
Councils in Wales have drawn up plans capable of supporting local town centres, helping people improve their skills and enabling local businesses to grow and flourish.
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said:
“After more than 40 years in the EU, we now have an opportunity to decide exactly how and where to spend our money in Wales.
“The £585m allocated to Wales under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will make a huge difference and can be better targeted than EU Structural Funds were.
“Working with Wales’ local authorities we will ensure that funding goes where it is needed most, bringing greater prosperity and opportunity to our communities.”
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said:
“This marks an important milestone as we help communities realise their full potential by taking full advantage of the benefits of being outside the European Union.
“I am pleased that all four investment plans for Wales have been approved and we will now work with the lead local authorities to agree the next steps.
“The government is relentless in its pursuit of levelling up and the delivery of this Fund marks another huge step forward in spreading opportunity more evenly across the entire United Kingdom.”
Across the UK, the money will be spent on levelling up in three key areas:
- Communities and place: projects could include improving parks and green spaces, access to arts and culture, developing sports facilities and fostering a greater sense of pride in place.
- Supporting local business: projects could include support for entrepreneurship, grants for research and development and helping local businesses to develop new and innovative products and services.
- People and skills: projects could include specialist support for people with a health condition facing additional barriers into decent jobs and targeted support to help individuals develop skills for the future. A multi-million pound adult numeracy programme, Multiply, forms part of the fund and has been allocated across the UK to support people to improve their economic and life prospects by developing their numeracy skills.
The UK Government's flexible approach also means that councils and local partners will have the opportunity to adapt their plans to reflect new economic priorities over the period to March 2025.
Funding for the UKSPF will be £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5 billion per year by March 2025, delivering on the UK Government’s commitment to match EU structural funds for each nation.