The Senedd’s Economy Committee is calling for the UK and Welsh Governments to work more effectively together on the Shared Prosperity and Levelling Up funds.
The Committee has carried out an inquiry into how these funds are being distributed and administered across Wales, following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Today’s Committee report outlines teething problems and is recommending ways to improve the delivering of funds and is calling for more involvement from the Welsh Government in the planning and rollout of future funds. It is also asking for clarity from the UK Government on whether these funds will continue after 2025.
The Committee received evidence from a wide range of people, both UK and Welsh Governments, local councils, leading academics and beneficiaries of funding.
Paul Davies MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee said:
“Following the UK’s departure from the EU, and since the introduction of the Levelling Up and Shared Prosperity funds, we have identified a number of teething problems. Funding economic development in Wales is a shared responsibility, it is a priority for everyone. For development funding to work for the people of Wales, the UK and Welsh Governments have to work together more effectively.
“This process must also continue to involve local councils who are well-placed to understand their communities, and who have worked hard to submit bids to the Levelling Up Fund, and to get the Shared Prosperity Fund up and running in their local areas.
“Crucially however, all organisations must have a fair chance of benefitting from the Shared Prosperity Fund. We’ve heard about the challenges faced by some voluntary sector bodies, universities and colleges in accessing funding, and about concerns that some local authorities are prioritising their own projects.
“Organisations also need to know that support is here to stay and people need certainty. We must get assurances from the UK Government that funding will continue beyond 2025, when this current funding round is scheduled to end.
“It is early days, but Wales’ economic success is at risk if governments don’t work together on post-EU funding. That is why today we are making a number of recommendations for both the UK and Welsh Governments to evaluate what’s happening and improve the system for the years to come.”
Today’s report, Post-EU regional development funding sets out a list of recommendations for the UK and Welsh Governments:
- The Welsh Government should be more involved in developing and delivering the funds
- Take account of the population size of deprived areas in future funding rounds for the Shared Prosperity Fund
- A review of how the Shared Prosperity Fund is delivered locally, regionally and Wales-wide, based on what works best
- The creation of a Wales-wide body to coordinate funding regionally
- Agree longer funding periods for the Shared Prosperity Fund to allow better planning and delivery
- Evaluate the Shared Prosperity Fund with input from Welsh-based organisations and publish lessons learned
- All organisations should have a fair chance of benefitting from the Shared Prosperity Fund.
- Both governments should work together to maximise Wales’ share of research and innovation spending
- Governments should develop a longer-term plan to safeguard research and innovation in the Welsh higher education sector
- If the Levelling Up Fund continues beyond 2025 it should not be delivered through competitive bidding - funding should be allocated to those areas in greatest need
- The Welsh Government should have greater involvement in development and administering of the Levelling Up Fund if it continues beyond 2025
- The UK Government should clearly set out its intentions for funding after 2025 as soon as possible
Post-EU regional development funding.