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Welsh Affairs Committee to probe EU aid successor

5 March 2020

The Welsh Affairs Committee today launches an inquiry into the aims, administration and the implementation of the proposed Shared Prosperity Fund. The fund is earmarked to replace European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI) that puts £375 million into the Welsh economy each year.

Following the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, ESI will end at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. Although it has promised a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace ESI, the UK Government is yet to set out the detail of precisely how much funding will be made available, to whom, and what role the Welsh Government will have in administering it. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of ESI in its stated goals of promoting balanced development and sustainability, and tackling social inequality remain unclear. The Inquiry will investigate these topics, evaluating the existing ESI arrangements to offer guidance on how the Shared Prosperity Fund could be best structured and managed, and where its spending priorities should lie.  

Chair's comments

The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee said:

“It's crucial that Wales receives its fair share of funding once the current system of European funding stops on 31st December. The creation of a Shared Prosperity Fund offers an important opportunity to look at how effectively structural and investment funds have been spent and delivered in Wales and to design a new funding regime that delivers as much value as possible for the people of Wales. The Inquiry will look at ways in which the Shared Prosperity Fund can be used to make a real difference to people, businesses and communities up and down Wales.”

The Committee invites written evidence submissions addressing the following points via the Committee's website until Tuesday 21 April 2020: 

  • How effective have existing arrangements for the management of European Structural Funds been? 
  • What impact have Structural Funds had on the Welsh economy? 
  • What lessons should be drawn from previous rounds of European Structural Funds in Wales?  
  • What should be the priorities and objectives of the Shared Prosperity Fund and what, if any, improvements are needed to the current European funding system? 
  • What level of funding should Wales receive, and how should this be calculated moving forward? 
  • Should funding be ring-fenced on a nation or regional basis or should the fund be open to competitive tendering? 
  • What timescale should be adopted for each funding round?  How should responsibility for funding and administering the fund be divided between UK and devolved governments? 
  • What role could, or should, local government and, where applicable, city or growth deals play in relation to the fund? Are there any implications for state aid rules? 

Further information

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