Gill Furniss MP Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
The Rt. Hon Greg Clark MP
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
2 Marsham Street
29th July 2022
Our Ref: 20220729/JC
Dear Secretary of State,
Lost funding in my area under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
I am writing to raise concern about funding allocations made to my region under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). This funding falls short of what is needed, and I call on you to address this during your time as Secretary of State.
According to Sheffield City Council, South Yorkshire will receive less than a fifth of what we were due to receive in European Structural funds under the UKSPF. After twelve years of severe underinvestment in the region, I am deeply concerned about the impact this cut is going to have on areas like mine.
This is on top of a £3bn real-terms cut to Sheffield City Council’s central Government grant since 2010. With these trends, your Department will fail to live up to its name and Level Up areas like mine which have borne the brunt of a decade of lost investment.
Figures recently published by the End Child Poverty Coalition reveal that a staggering 45% of children in my constituency are in poverty. The impacts of growing up in poverty are chronic and often lead to reduced life chances. Levelling Up should start here, ending child poverty once and for all. For the UKSPF to be deemed fit for purpose, it must address this crisis.
Furthermore, the claimant count in my constituency is 84% higher than the national average. Among 18-24 year olds, the figure is 130% higher than the national average. Delivering well-paid and high-skilled jobs locally is a vital part of levelling up if areas like mine are to see these trends reversed. But current funding commitments do not amount to anywhere near the levels needed to tackle these long-standing problems.
I urge you to once again look at the funding allocations made to South Yorkshire under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We cannot wait for a new Prime Minister for this to take place, my area needs funding urgently.
Gill Furniss MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough