Scottish Borders Council is currently progressing applications at pace for new funding streams from the UK Government.
The UK Government is currently taking applications for the Community Renewal Fund – a front runner to the Shared Prosperity Fund due next year.
The new funds are to replace those that used to be administered by the EU. However, the UK Government says administering it here rather than at an EU level will ensure quicker delivery of funding, better targeting for places in need, and will cut burdensome EU bureaucracy.
The funds are in addition to the UK Government’s flagship £5 billion Levelling Up Fund, which will target communities which have been left behind.
The UK Government and Scottish local councils will work together on administering the funding. The SNP Finance Secretary has previously called this a ‘power grab’.
However, this is not a view shared by the SNP group on Scottish Borders Council. Cllr Bell, leader of the SNP group, put forward a motion at full council stating that they welcome the Shared Prosperity Fund and Community Renewal Fund.
Cllr Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council said:
“I warmly welcome the Levelling Up Fund from the UK Government, as well as the Community Renewal and Shared Prosperity Funds. This money replaces some of the £1bn cuts to local government funding imposed by the SNP Government in Scotland”.
“The Council is working closely with our local communities, groups and stakeholders to pull together bids for this funding and are excited about the opportunities that this gives us. Projects that we are considering include an e-car charging network and more active travel routes.”
Cllr Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Economic Regeneration & Finance, said:
“It is entirely appropriate that this council should look to draw in investment from both of our Governments, especially when local government funding often comes so grudgingly from Scottish Government.
“We are working relentlessly to draw in funding from every possible investment source of which this is a very welcome addition.
“This Conservative-led council has a strong record on this; it was this administration that put extension of the Borders Railway on the table, that kept it there and secured funding from both UK Government & Scottish Government for it.
“It was this council that worked with both governments and as a group of five cross-border local authorities to deliver the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal with investment of over £450m in the region.
“The Community Renewal Fund is a welcome and ambitious step towards the exciting Shared Prosperity Fund which the UK Government has already pledged will be more generous than the EU funds it replaces but crucially will be more responsive to the unique needs of our people and places.”
John Lamont MP said:
“I have met with officials a number of times at the council to discuss the funding opportunities for the Borders. I know they are working tirelessly to secure funding for local projects.
“These new funds could really kickstart some exciting new projects for the Borders that will help to level up opportunity and deliver on our environmental commitments.
“I will ensure that the projects put forward by our local communities are given a fair hearing at the very top of government.”