3. Consultation On Successor Funding To European Structural Funds In Scotland Post EU-Exit
3.1 UK Plans after EU Exit
The UK Government has announced that it will roll out a successor programme to European Structural Funds called the UK Shared Prosperity Fund aimed at tackling “inequalities between communities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of our country whose economies are furthest behind”.
This is Scotland’s opportunity to set out how we believe any new fund should be designed and to ensure that Scotland has a say in the creation of a new policy approach that could transform how we promote inclusive economic growth. We should however be mindful that the UK Government has yet to provide further details on how this replacement fund might work or how Scotland, and the other devolved nations, will be involved in its development.
3.2 Principles for successor funding
Scottish Ministers have identified five non-negotiable points to influence any replacement funding:
1. Scotland should not lose out financially compared to the current level of funding it receives from the EU;
2. The devolution settlement must be respected and there must be no attempt by the UK Government to take back powers that the Scottish Government has rightfully executed to date;
3. The Scottish Government’s role in the development of the Shared Prosperity Fund should be as partners, not merely consultees;
4. The current level of flexibility of allocation of funds should not be reduced under post EU-exit funding arrangements;
5. The replacement should be operational from 1 January 2021 in order to be implemented in early 2021 so that our stakeholders do not suffer any difficulties due to funding gaps.
3.3 Why are we consulting?
In the absence of further information from the UK Government, the Scottish Government is keen to develop our own thinking on how any replacement funding vehicle can best meet the needs of our citizens, our businesses and our communities. Whilst lessons can be learned from the past, there is recognition that this is an opportunity to do things differently and design a programme that meets Scotland’s specific economic and social needs. Scotland has its own framework for driving inclusive economic growth in the National Performance Framework, and we need to be clear about how this new policy development can align to and help us meet our objectives.
Figure 2: National Performance Framework
The purpose of the consultation is to clarify:
- the aim and objectives of post EU Exit funding in Scotland;
- how to maximise its added value;
- the extent to which it should be aligned with Scottish, UK and EU policy priorities;
- whether and how it should be concentrated thematically or geographically;
- the appropriate arrangements for monitoring and evaluation;
- and the most effective and efficient approach to governance and partnership.
3.4 Who will oversee the work?
The Scottish Government has established a Steering Group to oversee this consultation. Comprised of experts drawn from a range of key partners, members of the Steering Group will act in an independent capacity to analyse the ideas and views which emerge from the consultation process in order to ensure that stakeholders are empowered to provide their input, experience and expertise in the co-production of potential replacement funding.
3.5 What happens next?
You are invited to give consideration and responses to the questions raised in the accompanying document and return your comments to the Future Funds team within the Scottish Government by 12 February 2020, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an important opportunity for you to set out your views on how this funding can best be utilised to benefit the people of Scotland and directly influence the development of any new programme of support.
In addition to this written consultation, there will also be a series of consultation events held between now and the end of January 2020 to look in more depth at some of the questions raised in the attached consultation. It is planned that these will be held throughout Scotland and further details will be available in due course.
Following analysis, we will produce a final report which will set out how Scotland intends to proceed. This is expected to be ready in Spring 2020.