BARNSLEY Central MP Dan Jarvis led Parliamentary talks on how to tackle the gap between the richest and poorest regions by using the new UK Prosperity Fund.

The fund, which will replace European funding and Local Growth Funding that regions currently receive, could be worth at least £2.4 billion a year.

European funding is money distributed by EU commissioners to fund a range of projects and programmes covering areas such as regional and urban development, employment and social inclusion, agricultural and rural development and research and innovation.

And Local Growth Funding is government funding awarded to Local Enterprise Partnerships for projects that will benefit the local area.

Leading the first national debate, Dan Jarvis explained his commitment to ensuring that South Yorkshire, and similar regions, will receive its fair share.

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He said: “The new UK Shared Prosperity Fund replaces both European and national government regeneration funding that communities in Barnsley and across Yorkshire have benefited from. In Barnsley, this sort of funding has helped regenerate the Interchange, the Experience Barnsley Museum, Barnsley Civic, the Digital Media Centre, and created jobs and businesses in the Dearne Valley.

“It has also helped people in Barnsley get into work and set up their own businesses.

“That’s why to ensure that the government is listening to towns and region’s like ours I led a debate in Parliament to make sure the government get the replacement fund right.

“For too long we’ve been reliant on a drip-feed of funding streams, often with rules and requirements attached that limit what we can do and constrain local bottom up solutions.

“To build on the change underway in Barnsley we need the government to make it clear just how much money will be available and how local areas will be able to influence on what and where it is invested.

“I am in a unique position as Mayor of the Sheffield City Region and also MP for Barnsley Central.

“I have seen first hand what local areas can do when they come together to drive economic growth. But I’ve also seen how limited and constrained they are by the powers and resources available to them.

“Both European and government funding often comes with limitations that inhibit creative thinking, making it virtually impossible to deliver the significant structural changes we need.

“The UK Shared Prosperity Fund presents an opportunity to press the reset button and think about how we do things differently. This must be the start of our economic transformation, not the end.”

The debate comes at a crucial time - as of next year the funding allocated to regions by the European Union will come to an end and 2021 will see the end of the government’s Local Growth Fund.