A plan outlining how the UK Shared Prosperity Fun (UKSPF) will be invested in County Durham has been approved by the government. In July, they submitted their UKSPF Investment Plan outlining how they will spend £30 million that they have been allocated by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The plan sets out how the funding will be invested into the county over the next three years, following the themes of communities and place, supporting local businesses, people and skills.
Councillor Elizabeth Scoot, Cabinet Member for Economy and Partnerships, said: “We are delighted that our plan for how to spend our share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has been approved. The plan was developed with a range of local partners, stakeholders, MPs and residents to ensure it addresses key priorities for the county. The funding will play a key role in delivering the priorities in the county’s new Inclusive Economic Strategy, which is yet to be considered by our Cabinet.
“It will enable us to deliver an exciting programme of investment to support our economy and increase prosperity across the county. The UKSPF aims to build pride in place and increase life chances, something we are ambitious to deliver across County Durham”.
The investment will also be used to support the growth of the county’s economy by focusing on strengthening local businesses and helping them set up, sustain, grow and innovate. This includes activities focusing on green technology and decarbonisation, supporting their Climate Emergency Response Plan in which it has pledged to achieve net zero in its operations by 2030, and to make the county carbon neutral by 2045.
The plan outlines how the money will be used to revitalise town centres across the county by enhancing community and neighbourhood infrastructure, increasing a sense of pride in local communities. It will focus on boosting the county’s tourism, culture and heritage offer by building on our existing festivals and events programme.
Furthermore, it is going to be used to support people in employment by increasing life and work skills within communities. They plan to use the money to provide a broad employment and skills support offer, with activities focusing on addressing sector pressure and skills shortages.
Glyn Llewelyn, Chair of the County Durham Economic Partnership, said: “County Durham Economic Partnership, which includes the voluntary and business sectors, as well as our key anchor institutions, has worked with Durham County Council to develop an investment plan for this funding which will maximise the value of every pound in driving forward our ambitious Inclusive Economic Strategy. Its approval by the Government recognises this, and I am very much looking forward to working with partners to bring forward the programme of activity it will deliver”.