Local Authorities Lead Role in Regional Development Funds

The UK Government recently announced the launch of three new Funds: the Community Renewal Fund; the Levelling Up Fund and the Community Ownership Fund. These are competitive Funds UK-wide and bids will only be accepted from Local Authorities, although there is an understanding that Local Authorities will consult with key local partners and communities.

The Community Renewal Fund (CRF) is a one year pilot for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and will provide £220 million (90% revenue) funding to help places across the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to be launched in 2022.  The four investment priorities are: skills; local business; communities and place; and supporting people into employment.  Bids require to be submitted by Local Authorities to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by 18 June 2021. Approvals will be announced from late July 2021 onwards and projects must spend the funds by 31 March 2022.

The Levelling Up Fund (LUF) will invest up to £4.8 billion from 2021/22 to 2024/25 across the UK, with about £400 million invested in Scotland.  The LUF has three Investment Themes for the first round of funding in 2021/22: Transport Investments; Regeneration and Town Centre Investment; and Cultural Investment. It is a competitive capital fund which targets places across the UK with the most significant need.  Bids are encouraged to include a local financial contribution of at least 10% and a contribution will be expected from private sector stakeholders if they stand to benefit from a specific project. Funding will be delivered through Local Authorities and the Scotland Office will be consulted in the assessment of bids.  The first round of funding will prioritise projects which are able to demonstrate investment or begin delivery on the ground in 2021-22. The application deadline is 18 June 2021, with investment decisions made for this funding round by the Autumn 2021.

The UK Community Ownership Fund will aim to “empower communities to protect vital community assets in their area by providing funding to take ownership over them, in support of the social wellbeing of local communities”.  £150m will be made available through this Fund so that communities can support and continue to benefit from local facilities, community assets and amenities.  UK Government will provide more information on this Fund in June 2021.

Speaking about the new funds, Comhairle Leader, Cllr. Roddie Mackay, said: “These Funds represent a significant opportunity for the local economy, both in terms of capital and revenue, and while initial deadlines for funding bids are imminent, the Comhairle is keen to work with partners and communities to achieve the best possible outcomes from these Funds for our islands”.

The Comhairle is keen to hear from partner, community and business organisations who may have projects that fit the criteria for the Community Renewal Fund and the Levelling Up Fund.  Prospective bids from outwith the Comhairle should be sent to: linda.cunningham@cne-siar.gov.uk by the deadline of Friday 14 May.

If you wish to discuss a particular project or require further information, contact: angus-murray@cne-siar.gov.uk

Further details of the Funds are also available at:

 Levelling Up Fund: additional documents  (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Levelling Up Fund Prospectus

UK Community Renewal Fund Prospectus