The UK Shared Prosperity Fund, “let’s get it done”, say Liberal Democrats

The Oldham Liberal Democrats want to see the Conservative Government honour the promise it made after the British people voted to Brexit to replace the funding received from the European Union with a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

In the last round of European funding (2014–2020), the ten authorities of Greater Manchester received £322.75m, from the European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) (£176.78m) and the European Social Funding (ESF) (£145.97m). Over each of the six years this represented £53.8m per year.

In the Conservative Party Manifesto for the 2017 General Election campaign, the party pledged to create this new fund to ‘reduce inequalities between communities across our four nations’. To help shape the fund the incoming Conservative government committed to ‘consult widely on the design of the fund, including with the devolved administrations, local authorities, businesses and public bodies.’

Four years on, Liberal Democrats now want to see the promised consultation carried out as a priority and the fund introduced later this year in the immediate post-Lockdown period to help boroughs, like Oldham, which will continue to struggle economically. They are bringing a motion to the next meeting of Oldham Council on Wednesday (24 March).

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani is proposing the motion, backed by the Deputy Group Leader, Councillor Chris Gloster. Councillor Al-Hamdani explained: “The Prime Minister may boast about ‘getting Brexit done’, but we say that this remains unfinished business. The Conservatives promised that no region of the UK would be worse off financially as a result of Brexit. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund would potentially represent a significant sum of money to our city-region and to Oldham. The Liberal Democrats now want to see this consultation ‘done’, as a deprived borough like Oldham really needs this cash.”

Sam Al-Hamdani, shadow cabinet for housing and homelessness

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