MPs to examine if EU-fund replacement meets Scotland’s needs
15 December 2020
The Scottish Affairs Committee will examine what the Shared Prosperity fund means for Scotland, including how the recent Spending Review affects the delivery of the Fund and nation’s allocation.
From next year, the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) is set to replace European Structural and Investment Funds which support some of Scotland’s most deprived areas and is worth up to €872 million over the last seven years. However, details of how the fund might be managed remained scarce until the 25 November Spending Review.
During the Review, Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined some of the fund’s priorities, or ‘heads of terms’, which includes investment in communities and skills to meet local needs. The Chancellor confirmed that funding ‘will at least match current EU receipts to an average of £1.5 billion per year’ across the UK. There was also a £220 million pledge to bridge the gap between the end of UK access to EU structural funds in January and the delayed introduction of the Shared Prosperity Fund later in 2021.
Despite the announcements in the Spending Review, there are still concerns over the lack of detail on the SPF and ambiguity over whether the devolved administrations will be responsible for spending the fund in their own nations. Less than a week before the Spending Review on 19 November, the Scottish Government published its own vision of how the Shared Prosperity Fund should be directed. The Committee will also examine how Scotland’s priorities will be incorporated into the final plans for Fund.
On 14 December, the Welsh Affairs Committee published the Government’s response to its own inquiry into the Shared Prosperity Fund. The Committee’s chair Stephen Crabb said, ‘we still require certainty about the total size of the fund, how it will be distributed’.
Commenting on the inquiry, Scottish Affairs Committee Chair Pete Wishart MP said:
“Without an effective Shared Prosperity Fund to replace current EU funding, community projects and economic development in the poorest areas of Scotland could be stifled.
As yet, we have too little information on how the Shared Prosperity Fund will operate in the Scottish context. How much will it be worth? How will it be spent? Who will be responsible for administering it in Scotland? Through this inquiry, we intend to answer these important questions.”
Terms of Reference
The Committee will accept evidence submissions through its website until 26 January on the following issues:
- What are the implications of the financial assistance powers in the Internal Market Bill and the announcements made by the UK Government in the 2020 Spending Review for the delivery of the Shared Prosperity Fund in Scotland?
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