The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) was introduced by the UK Government as a route to developing new funding streams in the post-Brexit landscape. In the absence of European Union Structural Funds, UKSPF is a cornerstone of the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme, designed to foster growth and development in local communities across the United Kingdom.
In Edinburgh, UKSPF is being used to drive positive change in both delivery and infrastructure through a wide range of projects and initiatives.
The UK Government published the UKSPF prospectus in April 2022, outlining the fund's objectives and investment themes. These themes are Community and Place, Supporting Local Business, and People and Skills. In addition, the Multiply programme is aimed at supporting people to improve their numeracy and data literacy skills. In Edinburgh, the City Council received an allocation of nearly £12.4 million for projects that align with these themes, with the goal of completing them by the end of March 2025.
In June 2022, the Council’s Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee approved a strategy to develop an Investment Plan in partnership with stakeholders and potential delivery partners. This commitment to cooperation laid a solid foundation for project success.
During summer 2022 Edinburgh used an open grants process to allocate funding. This process allowed individuals and organisations to propose projects that align with UKSPF's investment themes and the Council's overarching goals. These projects had to fit within the City's Business Plan but also align with the Local Outcome Improvement Plan developed by the Edinburgh Partnership. Members of the Edinburgh Partnership were involved in deliberations that resulted in recommendations for funding.
In August 2022, Edinburgh's Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee reviewed and approved recommendations for 32 projects out of 81 submitted proposals. These successful projects demonstrate the diverse range of ideas that will contribute to the city's sustainable growth. Staff then worked closely with projects to ensure that funding plans aligned with the budget and proposed outcomes of UKSPF.
Edinburgh's approach to UKSPF implementation is not just about funds and projects—it's about inclusivity and transparency, recognising the importance of reaching the increasingly diverse population we have in the city. The UKSPF Edinburgh Programme Management Office is split across City of Edinburgh Council and Capital City Partnership. The team is committed to annual progress reports and regular updates on programme delivery. In addition, project leads will come together at key milestones to investigate new ways of working in collaboration.
Edinburgh's implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has been an example of effective implementation, collaboration, and community-driven growth. As the City harnesses the power of the UKSPF to address local needs and aspirations, it paves the way for a more prosperous and inclusive future. The work is not just about financial investments; it's about investing in the people and the places that make our communities thrive.
Dr Kate Kelman, Deputy Chief Executive, Capital City Partnership