Welsh councils await £42m funding bid sign-off by UK Government
Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter
Welsh councillors are hoping that next week’s UK Government autumn budget statement will include the sign-off for a £42 million funding bid.
Back in July, Powys County Council’s Cabinet agreed a joint bid with Ceredigion for the Mid-Wales Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) money.
The bid was submitted to the UK Government in August with a decision expected by October.
Powys would receive £27.443m share of the money, which is seen as a replacement for European Union funding.
At a meeting of Powys’ Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee, on Monday, November 7, councillors received an update on the bid.
Cabinet member for economic development, Cllr David Selby said: “You will be aware that the UK Government has not exactly been settled over the last few months.
“We’re still waiting for an answer on the SPF from the UK Government.
“We have a budget announcement next week and one assumes that elements of investment like the SPF will come through.
“There have been times over the last few weeks when I felt very negative about the whole thing and that it might not go ahead.”
Cllr Selby told the committee that he was starting the week with a degree of “optimism” that the UK Government would give the bid a green light.
“With money needing to be spent by the end of March we would have to be quite nimble in getting some of the investment underway,” said Cllr Selby.
Cllr Adrian Jones asked whether the funding could be rolled over and used in the following fiscal year?
Head of economy and digital services, Diane Reynolds answered that the original guidance had specified that funding had to be spent in the year it was allocated.
Mr Reynolds said: “We have since met with the UK government officials and asked the question would we be able to roll year one money into year two.
“We don’t have an answer.
“They haven’t specified one way or another and we wait for clarification.”
She added that the council was continuing to work on the basis that a positive announcement would be made on the SPF by the UK Government.
The joint Powys and Ceredigion SPF bid would be split between projects under three theses with the 40 per cent going to Communities and Place; 40 per cent to Supporting Local Business and 20 per cent to People and Skills.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of UK Government Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of new funding for investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation by a funding formula rather than a competition.
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