Overview of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund 

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and will provide £2.6 billion of funding for local investment across the UK by March 2025.

The overarching objective of the fund is: “Building pride in place and increasing life chances”.

The UKSPF aims to achieve this through three investment priorities:

  • Community and Place
  • Supporting Local Business
  • People and Skills (including adult numeracy)

Shared Prosperity Fund: North Wales

All parts of the UK will receive some of the funding, which is allocated to individual areas based on a formula.  Local authorities are responsible for the delivery of the fund. 

In Wales, local areas must work with others within their region to deliver the fund.  The North Wales Region includes the counties of Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey.

A total of £126.46*million has been allocated form the UKSPF to North Wales. The total includes £21.84*million which must be used to support adult numeracy (the Multiply programme).

* £4.44 million of the total is subject to confirmation.

The allocation for each individual local authority area is as follows:

Isle of Anglesey: £16,081,937
Gwynedd: £24,423,747
Conwy: £24,520,120
Denbighshire: £25,647,958
Flintshire: £13,102,933
Wrexham: £22,684,205

The funding includes both capital and revenue money for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2025.  

On 5 December 2022, the UK Government announced that the money will be coming to North Wales, but the funds will only be confirmed by the UK Government for one financial year at a time.

Delivery of the UKSPF in North Wales

To minimise cost and complexity, local authorities in North Wales will work together to administer the UKSPF. However, all decisions on where the money goes will be taken locally in each area.

Most of the money will be distributed through grants to support organisations to deliver projects which will make a real difference in local communities.  

The first opportunity to submit applications for funding is now open and will close at midday on 24 February 2023. Future opportunities to submit bids may be opened - in all or some local authority areas and for all or some areas of activity - if funds remain available.

Local authorities will decide which projects will receive money, advised by a partnership of local stakeholders. 

Applicants can submit an application for projects delivering in one or more local authority area.  Each area will determine whether or not they wish to support an application.

What the UKSPF will support

The objectives for each of three UKSPF Investment priorities - communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills - are outlined in the UKSPF Prospectus (external link).

For Wales, 53 UKSPF interventions are permitted covering the three investment priorities and the Multiply programme:

Any project funded by the UKSPF must address one, or more, of these interventions.

Every project must also deliver one or more of the outputs and outcomes published by the UK Government:

To provide as much flexibility as possible, North Wales local authorities will permit applicants to select any of the listed outputs and outcomes relevant to the investment priority / priorities their project addresses.

As well as demonstrating alignment with the UKSPF itself, projects seeking support in North Wales must:

  • show how they add value to, and are integrated with, current and planned activity in the relevant field, avoiding duplication; 
  • engaged with, and gained support from, relevant stakeholders within the field of activity and localities in which they will be operating;
  • help in realising - or be aligned with - relevant regional and national policies and strategies; and,
  • understand and address the needs of the local areas in which they intend to operate and help realise the relevant local priorities / strategies.

Relevant regional strategies and plans may include (not an exhaustive list):

Relevant local strategies and plans may include:

Important things to know

  • The timescale for delivery of the UKSF is short; in practice, all projects will need to be completed and final claims submitted by 31 December 2024, to allow time for closure of the programme.
  • Considering the short period available for delivery, local authorities will be seeking to support a relatively small number of larger, strategic projects.  All projects submitted must seek at least £250,000 of UKSPF funds; local authorities anticipate that, on average, supported projects will be seeking £1 million plus of UKSPF funds.
  • To enable local businesses, organisations and communities seeking smaller amounts of support to access UKSPF funds; most local authorities will be looking to establish local intermediary funds, providing a simplified application, approval and monitoring regime.  Information on these funds will appear on individual local authorities websites as it becomes available.
  • As noted previously, although the UK Government has announced the UKSPF allocations for the period up to 31 March 2025, the funding is only confirmed on an annual basis.  The funding agreements provided by North Wales local authorities to successful applicants will reflect this.  Any applicant, committing to expenditure beyond the period for which funding is confirmed will do so at their own risk.
  • The eligible period for expenditure under the UKSPF began on 1 April 2022.  Applicants may therefore include an element of retrospective expenditure within their applications.  Note that any expenditure incurred by applicants prior to signing a grant funding agreement will be entirely at their own risk.
  • The UKSPF includes both capital and revenue funding.  Applicants can choose to submit applications for capital only project, revenue only projects or projects seeking a combination of both.
  • Operating in compliance with the new UK subsidy control regime which began on 4 January 2023, will be a key requirement for any project.  All applicants should familiarise themselves with the requirements of the regime:
  • Given the constrained circumstances for the delivery of the UKSPF, confidence in the deliverability of submitted proposals will be a key consideration for local authorities alongside the capacity and capability of applicant organisations.

Project selection

Reflecting the emphasis placed on local decision making by local authorities in North Wales; each local area will determine how they wish to select projects for UKSPF support.

However, common considerations will include:

  • the alignment of proposals with UKSPF priority investments and interventions
  • proposals' anticipated outputs and outcomes
  • additionality and alignment of proposed projects with current and planned activity
  • deliverability and the capacity / capability of the applicant (including awareness of legal and regulatory requirements)
  • alignment with national, regional and especially local strategies, priorities and needs

Local areas will consider the overall mix of activities proposed as well as individual proposals to ensure the needs of their localities are addressed and the objectives of the UKSPF investment priorities are addressed.

As noted, local authorities will decide which projects will receive money advised by a partnership of local stakeholders.  The views of key stakeholders within the area of activity a project seeks to operate will also be sought and considered.

How to apply

Applications for UKSPF funding in North Wales will follow a two-stage process:

Stage 1:  submission of outline project application (the first round of applications has now closed)

Stage 2:  submission of detailed project application

Local authorities will prioritise and select projects on the basis of their stage 1 outline application.

Selected projects will be invited to prepare and submit a stage 2 detailed application, which will provide further information on the proposal. Formal grant funding agreements will be issued following appraisal of the stage 2 detailed application.

The next steps once applications are received will be:

a)    The application will be appraised by the relevant local Shared Prosperity Fund team (projects seeking to deliver in one local authority area only) or the regional Shared Prosperity Fund team (projects seeking to deliver in more than one local authority area).
b)    Views sought form relevant stakeholders.
c)    Local Advisory Panel (or panels in the case of projects seeking to deliver in more than one local authority area) will assess and prioritise the projects to hand and make recommendations to local authority / authorities
d)    Local authority / authorities decide which projects they wish to support
e)    Applicants are advised of decision.
f)    Successful applicants are invited to prepare and submit stage 2 detailed project application 
g)    Once received, stage 2 detailed project applications are appraised and final due diligence of applicants completed.
h)    Local authority / authorities confirm final decision on application
i)    Formal grant funding agreements issued by regional team on behalf of local authority / authorities.

The timescale for decision making will vary according to the process / procedure followed by each local authority. We anticipate that our decision on Stage 1 applications will be made by mid-May.

In submitting an application, you will authorise the council(s) to make any necessary enquiries to check any information that is required for the administration of the UKSPF programme. The information you provide may also be shared with others as stated within the following privacy notice:

More information

For more information or to discuss your proposal please contact the relevant local authority / authorities and the Shared Prosperity Fund: North Wales Team if you're looking to deliver a project across more than one local authority area:

Wrexham - email: sharedprosperityfund@wrexham.gov.uk.