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Shared Prosperity Fund

Volume 689: debated on Monday 22 February 2021

We will work both with the devolved Administrations and local communities to ensure that the UK shared prosperity fund supports citizens right across the country. We have demonstrated that commitment by confirming that the devolved Administrations will have a place within the governance structures for the fund.

Mr Speaker, that was a wonderful tribute to Julia and I really appreciate your making it. I associate myself with it and pass on my deepest condolences to her family. She will be sadly missed by the Scottish National party group at Westminster.

Will the Minister please explain when exactly we will learn what the mechanism will be for involving the Scottish Government in decisions about which people, communities and local businesses will receive the funding necessary to enable them to level up? Who will be the final arbiter? How much money will be available? When will the process begin?

The money is well known about, and we published the heads of terms document last year. Investment to replace EU structural funds will increase in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next year, compared with this financial year, thanks to the funds that the Chancellor is putting in. We will ramp up total domestic UK-wide funding so that it will at least match EU receipts, reaching around £1.5 billion a year. Further details of the operation of the additional funding will be published soon, but in the meantime we will continue to engage with the devolved Administrations on the important additional funds.

I am pleased to hear that the Minister apparently just confirmed that Scotland will not receive a single penny less under the UK shared prosperity funding scheme. I am sure that that news will be welcomed in Scotland. Will he confirm that the priorities for Scotland will continue to be set in Scotland, by the people of Scotland and the democratically elected Government of Scotland?

Of course, the first part of the hon. Lady’s question was confirmed in a manifesto commitment from this Government. I assure her that we have been having engagement events right across the United Kingdom, with 16 such events in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have confirmed that the devolved Administrations will have a place in the oversight of the fund; we have been working closely with them, and I will reach out to them soon to organise discussions about the delivery of the fund directly into Scotland.