Falling Short: UK Shared Prosperity Fund

A shortfall to Scotland of £337 million. That’s what Scottish Government Ministers have calculated Scotland is losing out on from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

As a member of the EU Scotland, and especially places like Orkney, benefited greatly from funding from the European Union. Funding that went toward many infrastructure projects around our islands as well as support for farmers, fishers, cultural and academic sectors.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was supposed to replace all that funding we got when we were part of the largest free trade area in the world – the EU. The funding which will be paid to local authorities in Scotland is 60% less than we would have got from the EU if we had still been a member according to Scottish Government Minister, Richard Lochhead.

Only £212 million has been allocated to Scotland over a three-year period, when EU funding would have been worth around £549 million over three years – a shortfall of £337 million.

  • 2022 /23: £32 million
  • 2023/24: £55 million
  • 2024/25: £125 million

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU but as part of the UK was taken out when the advisory referendum returned a Leave vote of 51.9%.

The Scottish Government has calculated £162 million per year would be needed to replace the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund, increasing to £183 million per year when LEADER funding and the EU Territorial Cooperation Programmes are added in.

Shared Prosperity funding is allocated over three years but delivered as single year payments and any underspend must be returned by local authorities to the UK Government at the end of each year.

Commenting Richard Lochhead said:

“EU structural funds have made a real difference across the country, helping more people into work and delivering new skills through better training and support. This welcome contribution from the EU has been eradicated by Brexit and the UK Government’s replacement for EU funding has fallen far short in both the quality and quantity of what is required.

“The UK Government has ignored the devolution settlement and failed to recognise the authority of the Scottish Government in devolved areas. This replacement for EU funding ought to be fully devolved, allowing funding to flow to regions and communities in line with shared Scottish policies, designed to best serve Scottish needs.

“Shared Prosperity has also left local authorities racing against the clock to spend their funding by March, or face losing it and see their plans reduced to tatters due to the UK Government’s delay in only now agreeing the allocations.

“The approach taken thus far by the UK Government is against the principles of partnership working and risks diluting Scottish Government efforts to transform the economy and support families and sustainable public services during this cost of living crisis.”

Click on this link for more information about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Importantly too as this funding goes direct to local authorities it does not go, as EU funding did, to national bodies or Third Sector organisations.

Just a few of the many hundreds of projects funded in Orkney when we were part of the EU.

Fiona Grahame

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