Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (13 April) welcomed more than £42million of Government cash to boost local businesses, invest in people and level up the region.
The funding, from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) has fully matched the previous EU funding the area received from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund in real terms.
The UKSPF will help regenerate communities, tackle economic decline and reverse the UK’s geographical inequalities and is targeted at areas with higher levels of need.
Deprived communities will reap significant benefits from the fund, which is targeted at communities who truly need it most.
Money will be used to tackle priorities that matter to our region, from supporting local businesses and employment opportunities to reviving high streets and reducing anti-social behaviour.
Mayor Houchen said: “This news puts paid to all those who were predicting that Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool would miss out by tens of millions of pounds if we left the EU.
“Giving taxpayers’ money to the EU and then getting some of it back with strings attached was not the best way to help grow our region. The funding given by Government through the new Shared Prosperity Fund safeguards the money we used to receive and gives us more flexibility to deliver local priorities.
“This is a fantastic result and it means we do not need to compromise on our plans to supercharge investment that will deliver thousands of good-quality, well paid jobs for local workers.
“This new cash is an important part of our plans and I’m pleased to see Government stick to their promise of delivering funding and change to help level up Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”
Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien MP said: “The UKSPF will allow local leaders and communities in Tees Valley to directly tackle the issues affecting their local area, whether that’s youth employment or high street regeneration.
“This new and innovative approach to empowering local communities is a key part of our levelling up agenda, now unshackled by previous EU restrictions.
“I look forward work closely with local leaders in Teesside to see the creative, ambitious choices that communities make as they level up and take charge of their destinies.”
The allocation formula for UKSPF takes into account both the local population data, and a broadly based measure of need, including factors like unemployment and income levels. This is to ensure the most amount of money is going to areas which will truly benefit from the fund.
Funding for the UKSPF will be £2.6billion between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5billion per year by March 2025, matching the average spending of EU structural funds over the previous programme.