Liverpool’s £52m post-Brexit fund ‘salts the wound’ for city region
The announcement that Liverpool will receive £52m from the government’s ‘shared prosperity fund’ after Brexit has been described as ‘salt in the wound’ as the region is ‘lost’.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces funds previously granted by the European Union, will be shared across the UK and amounts to £2.5 billion over the next three years. Announcing the plans, Leveling Up secretary Michael Gove said the money will “help spread opportunity and level the country”.
But there are fears the government’s new funding pot could leave areas like Liverpool worse off compared to the support received from funding streams from the European Union, which it replaces after Brexit.
READ MORE:Michael Gove shorts Liverpool in post-Brexit fund
In the previous three years, the city region received £80m from the UK, almost £30m more than the government is offering over the next three. Reacting to news of the funding, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the drop in monetary support was not “what we were promised”.
He said: “When we left the European Union, the government told us that we would have at least the same level of funding that the EU had provided. It is not an upgrade.
“By doing so, the government is shooting itself in the foot. This will have a detrimental impact on jobs, skills, communities and businesses in the Liverpool City area – and wider detrimental impacts on UK plc.
He added: “The fact that this will provide us with less certainty and require us to have our plans approved by central government only rubs salt in the wound. Local people should be able to make decisions about how money is spent in our area. We know the needs and wants of our communities far better than the mandarins of Westminster or Whitehall ever could.
The Mayor of Metro highlighted the fact that funding will be cut by “more than a third”, which he says could have been used to “support our local economy and build the fairer and stronger region we deserve. “. Over the past two decades, Liverpool has benefited greatly from European Union funding, in particular helping to transform the city into a Capital of Culture in 2008.
Announcing the plans, Mr Gove was however confident of the “potential impact” of the funding. He said: “We have taken back control of our money in the EU and are empowering those who know their communities best to deliver on their priorities. The UK Fund for Shared Prosperity will help unleash creativity and talent from communities that have so long been ignored and undervalued.
“By targeting this funding to the areas of the country that need it most, we will help spread the opportunities and raise standards across all parts of the UK.”
The Echo has been told that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund’s allocation formula takes into account “local population data and a broad measure of need, including factors such as unemployment and income levels”.