In response to the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review announcement today, Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change, which supports local people to grow community businesses that benefit their local area, stated:
Today’s Budget from the Chancellor was underpinned by a recognition of the value of our social infrastructure – the buildings, services and spaces that build stronger communities. Investment in youth services and early-years support, and new grant funding for local government, are all very welcome. It should be noted, of course, that much of this is simply replacing services or spending lost over the past decade.
I was also pleased to see the first projects supported through the Community Ownership Fund announced today. Through this round, a real range of social infrastructure assets will be put into community hands in 21 places across the UK.
A notable omission in today’s budget is any mention of the Community Renewal Fund. Many community businesses have devoted time and money in preparing bids for this funding, which would have provided day-to-day funding for vital community services, such as employment and skills or homelessness support.
I’m also disappointed to see that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will only reach EU levels of funding by the end of the Spending Review period, not from next year as was originally promised.
Levelling up will only work if communities are put in the driving seat. Communities best understand the needs of their local place, and research shows that community-driven regeneration has longer-lasting impacts compared with top-down approaches.
Government now needs to build on some of the announcements made at the Spending Review through the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper. We will continue to provide advice and ideas to Government on how they can get this right through the White Paper and its implementation.
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