Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, has been vocal in voicing concerns linked to the UK Government’s funding projects that are directly replacing the generous EU structural funds that greatly benefitted many communities, the length and breadth of Wales.
As part of his ongoing efforts to gain greater clarity surrounding the new funding, Chris has submitted a series of written parliamentary questions, letters to the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government and has spoken at length in the chamber. However, Ministers continue to regurgitate the same pre-prepared responses and rarely offer any sort of meaningful update on the funds themselves.
Mr Elmore is particularly concerned over the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, this is due to the shoddy handling of the precursor, the Community renewal fund.
In Chris’s June Report, he made clear that many councils were unable to submit an application for the Levelling Up Fund as they were not given enough time to put one together. Despite Chris’ repeated calls, Bridgend County Borough Council was not placed in the top 100 priority areas for the Community Renewal Fund, even though they ranked 323 out of the 379 areas assessed in the Legatum Institute’s ‘2021 UK Prosperity Index’ which was published in May 2021.
In his most recent correspondence with Luke Hall, the then Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, the Minister stated that they would publish a UK-wide investment framework later in 2021 and confirm funding profiles at the next Spending Review. Yet three months later local authorities are none the wiser on when they need to submit their bids for access to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Speaking in the chamber, Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:
“Let me return to the shared prosperity fund, rather than levelling up, because the Secretary of State did not actually answer my question. We have seen months and years of dither and delay.
Will the Secretary of State, simply set out when the shared prosperity fund will be confirmed, when the dates for bidding will take place and when local government will get the information it needs in order to bid for this long overdue funding?”