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Concerns raised over third sector funding post-Brexit

Concerns over funding arrangements for the Scottish third sector post-Brexit have been raised by Scotland’s Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell, in a letter to the UK Government.

EU funding has benefitted Scotland’s third sector significantly over the years but with the UK due to leave the European Union next month, the letter asks the UK Government for assurances that third sector fears over the loss of these funds will be addressed within the scope of the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund – the UK Government’s proposed replacement to existing EU funding streams such as the European Social Fund (ESF).

The ESF provides £500m a year in dedicated employment and skills support funding for people and communities who are poorly served or neglected by mainstream employment support.

A report published last year by the Work and Pensions Committee says that any gap in payment between the existing European Social Fund (ESF) and a new fund would be ‘disastrous’ for the UK.

Ms Campbell said ‘Scotland has benefitted from billions in European Structural Fund money since joining the EU in 1973. These funds have been used to support people getting into work and out of poverty, improving their education and skills, and investing in our infrastructure and communities.

‘The UK Government has recognised the value of these programmes and committed to replace them, but despite promises to put forward a consultation on the proposed replacement, we are still waiting. I have written to the UK’s Minister for Communities asking for clarity on this issue.

‘We are absolutely clear that we expect the value of the funds to remain at least the same and that we retain the ability to design and operate them in line with the best interests of Scotland.’

Speaking in Parliament In December, minister Jake Berry said the UK Shared Prosperity Fund  will ‘tackle the challenges of our whole country.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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