Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield criticizes government funding announcement as ‘shocking’

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The city received £ 622,659 for a project called ‘Leveling Up Futures in Sheffield’ from the Community Renewal Fund.

Nationally, some 477 projects are expected to share £ 200million, Leveling Up secretary Michael Gove said.

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Sheffield MP and shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield. Imagine Tony Johnson.

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He said: “We are leveling up all over the UK, supporting locally driven projects that will make a real difference to communities and help meet our net zero commitments.

“There are incredible talents spread across our great country and this investment will open up the opportunities to match. “

WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY RENEWAL FUND?

Secretary of State for Upgrade Michael Gove. (Photo by Leon Neal / Getty Images)

The Community Renewal Fund is a pilot project to prepare areas for the Shared Prosperity Fund, a post-Brexit replacement of EU money for deprived areas.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said the planned spending of £ 2.6bn was a third of what the government had promised.

He said: “The Tories ‘replacement of the money we would have received through EU structural funds is shocking and breaks their clear promise that they’ would at least match the size of these funds”.

“The Chancellor’s budget revealed their failure, announcing £ 2.6bn for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund between 2020 and 2025. This is only a third of what has been allocated to the UK by the EU – around £ 7.7 billion over the period 2014-2020.

“This is another broken Brexit promise and shows the government is not serious about moving upmarket.”

HOW MUCH WOULD SOUTH YORKSHIRE HAVE RECEIVED IF IT STAYED IN THE EU?

Community Renewal Fund projects in South Yorkshire are: Anything is Possible, Rotherham! £ 607,845; Good growth pilot project based on the central Barnsley area, £ 2.4million; Rotherham Children’s Capital of Culture – Embassy of Creative and Cultural Skills £ 1.85million; Decarbonization of Doncaster £ 993,480; Doncaster Progress: Paths to Recovery £ 640,560; Doncaster Thrive: Road to Recovery £ 581,776; Rotherham ‘Labre’s Hope’ £ 532,683 and Leveling Up Futures in Sheffield £ 622,659.

Last week, the Local Government Association raised concerns about “long” delays in announcing community renewal funding and requested an extension of the deadline for spending it, which is March 2022.

Recently, Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton called the UK Shared Prosperity Fund “disappointing”.

He added: “It will be a complex set of baby food and funding will not come close to EU levels for a few years, which will compound the disappointing delays of the Community Renewal Fund.”

Throughout 2019, Labor MPs have demanded to know the details of the much delayed Shared Prosperity Fund. Then, in September 2020, Paul Blomfield’s fears were confirmed when Michael Gove announced his intention to divert money from South Yorkshire to the Newly Tory areas. The then Cabinet Office minister said the UK’s replacement for EU structural funding would go to communities which were “undervalued and neglected” by Labor authorities and which now included Tory MPs.

He added: “It is vitally important that productivity improvements are sustained and that is why new free ports and increased investment will go into areas that have been neglected by Labor for too long.”

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