Scotland’s Islands and post-Brexit UK funding: tell us what you think!
The response to our survey was overwhelmingly in favour of Scotland’s running its own regional policy and funding.
See the report at the end of the introduction below.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Following Article 50, the UK Government has announced the setting up of a “Shared Prosperity Fund” to replace the European Structural Funds (ESIFs). These funds underpin the European territorial Cohesion Policy, which aim to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in all regions.
A cross-party group has looked at how the Shared Prosperity Fund could simply replicate the way ESIFs are allocated, with a simplified bureaucracy. But with no UK regional policy in place, its report pointed out that nearly everything about the Fund is still to be worked out, leaving huge unresolved issues:
- How much funding will be available?
- How will it be divided up across the UK?
- What activities will be eligible for support?
- Who will take the decisions about how the money is spent?
Here is our chance to give our opinion
Discussing the Shared Prosperity Fund at the Scottish Rural parliament last October, North Ayrshire MP Philippa Whiteford pointed out that only 2% of the fund was intended for the rural economy of the UK, with no indication of what would come to rural Scotland and less favoured areas such as the Highlands and Islands.
The consultation supposed to take place in autumn 2018 for the fund to be in place by 2020 has yet to be done. There is now a huge worry that at the end of 2020, there will be a funding hiatus, with nothing in place to ensure a smooth transition from EU funds on which the rural economy depends.
In Scotland, the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA) has come up with ideas for a new rural economy framework that would ensure that transition. Responding to Scottish Government enquiry, Island Councils have also asked that any future funding mechanisms revert back to giving more decision making powers to the regions themselves and the flexibility they feel has been lacking in the last allocation period.
Here is a chance to tell us what a regional policy could look like, and how a Shared Prosperity Fund might operate in Scotland. Your opinion counts and the survey results will be shared with the Scottish government.