The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned that the capital is losing out on hundreds of millions of pounds of Government funding to boost disadvantaged communities.
From today, organisations in London can apply for a share of £30m targeted to support small businesses, in the first phase of the Government’s new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – but Sadiq believes this national fund should be doubled in size.
The UKSPF is a central part of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda which aims to spread opportunity more equally across the whole UK. It replaces crucial funding that London used to receive from the European Union before Brexit.
But, despite being home to some of the most deprived parts of the UK, London is only eligible to receive a total of £144m from the UKSPF over three years, including today’s £30m, out of a national total pot of £2.6bn. This equates to less than half the size of the European Union (EU) funding it was intended to replace.
In fact, of the 11 major Government regional funding initiatives designed to support levelling up, London receives by far the lowest amount – just £76 per person – a fraction of the England average of £384 per person.*
According to the latest census, Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Brent are amongst the most deprived boroughs in the country. In addition, London has the highest child poverty rate in the country.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “I am pleased that organisations in London will today be able to apply for funding – but the reality is that the capital’s needs far exceed what it is receiving from Government.
“I am determined that London plays its part in helping to level up parts of the country that have been left behind for too long.
“But if the Government really wants to level up, it needs to recognise that London has some of the most deprived communities in the country and also needs robust support and investment to deliver a more equal society.
“London is the driver of the UK economy – but the funding allocated to the capital does not reflect the high levels of unemployment and child poverty that continue to exist in many areas here.
“All we want is a fair share of funding for London, so we can continue to reduce the capital’s own substantial inequalities and in turn boost prosperity across the country.”
The Greater London Authority is the designated lead authority to manage UKSPF in London, working closely with partners including London Councils.
Organisations across London can now bid for UKSPF grants to deliver projects that support businesses.
Applicant organisations must be legally constituted bodies. Individuals cannot apply for themselves. Potential applicant organisations can include local authorities, public funded organisations, Higher and Further Education institutions, voluntary and community organisations and registered charities.
Projects should support businesses based within the boundaries of Greater London. The GLA intends to award grants of £500,000 UKSPF or more to successful projects.