Fund extended to help level-up every corner of United Kingdom

A multibillion-pound fund to level-up opportunities is being extended so that people in every region and nation of the UK can benefit, it was announced today, 24 February

• Levelling Up Fund will be extended to whole of the UK to help boost growth in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

• £4.8 billion will now be invested in local projects, such as regeneration and transport, ensuring the government provides the same support to communities across the UK as we build back better from Covid

• the Chief Secretary is clear that levelling up means every region and nation of the UK

Taking this UK-wide approach makes sure that the UK Government can target funding more efficiently and responsibly between different parts of the country.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, said that communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will now all benefit from at least £800 million of investment by the UK Government for town centre and high street regeneration, local transport, cultural and heritage projects.

The Levelling Up Fund, which was announced at the Spending Review, will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities. It will run from 2021/22 to 2024/25, and drive regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and areas that have received less government investment in recent years. Because such places exist across the UK - including in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - this support is being extended across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The initial £4 billion will now be made £4.8 billion as the scheme becomes UK-wide. Making the Levelling Up Fund UK-wide will enable the government to provide the same support to communities in all parts of the UK as we build back better from Covid.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, said:

"We are committed to levelling-up opportunities right across the United Kingdom so that all communities can benefit from our future prosperity.

"Our levelling-up fund will back local projects to improve everyday life for millions of people and we look forward to working with all areas to boost local economies.

"By extending the levelling-up fund to be UK-wide, we are ensuring that no community in the United Kingdom is left behind."

All parts of the UK have benefited from the UK government’s £280 billion economic support package which has protected millions of jobs throughout the pandemic through the furlough scheme, self-employed support and generous business loans. The response to the pandemic has shown that the UK government has successfully saved jobs and protected people throughout the UK.

Making the Levelling Up Fund UK-wide will enable the government to provide the same support to communities in all parts of the UK as we build back better from Covid and to take a strategic approach across the whole of the UK, allocating funding in all parts of the country irrespective of administrative borders. Along with the government’s plans for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the Levelling Up Fund will ensure a package of UK Government support which invests in skills, infrastructure and innovation at local, regional and national levels.

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said:

"The new UK Levelling Up Fund is a fantastic example of the UK Government delivering for people in Scotland. It will provide a boost to communities right across Scotland as we set out to Build Back Better from the Covid pandemic.

"This fund will allow us to directly invest in capital projects in Scotland. I look forward to working on the delivery of the fund in Scotland and with local authorities, who know best what their communities really need.

"The new UK Levelling Up Fund is just one way the UK Government is investing in Scottish jobs and Scotland’s future prosperity. We are driving a package of measures to level up opportunity across all parts of the UK, including City and Region Growth Deals, Freeports, the Union Connectivity Review, and preparing for a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund."

Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart, said:

"This represents a significant investment in Wales and is testament to our determination to level up the whole of the UK.

"The UK Government has supported hundreds of thousands of people and businesses in Wales through the pandemic. As we begin our programme to build back better we will target investment where it is needed most, directly benefitting communities across Wales."

Further Information

Further details on how the Fund will operate will be published in the prospectus at Budget – including who can bid, the types of projects eligible for funding, and the criteria for assessing proposals.

The UK Government will use the financial assistance power in the UK Internal Market Act to ensure the fund is UK-wide. Due to this, the initial £4 billion fund will now be made £4.8 billion available UK-wide.

The Levelling Up Fund will supersede existing local growth funding streams, such as the Local Growth Fund, Pinch Points Fund, and future rounds of the Towns Fund – working directly with local areas across the UK to take a holistic approach to their needs.

Since 2015, the UK government has invested billions in local growth funding including:

• Committing to 20 City and Growth Deals covering the whole of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These ensure that all individuals can benefit from nearly £2.9 billion of direct UK government investment.

• Agreement of nine mayoral devolution deals for city-regions across the country, representing £7.5 billion of un-ringfenced ‘gainshare’ investment over 30 years for Mayoral Combined Authorities to invest in local priorities.

• Up to £600 million of investment over 20 years through the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund, agreed as part of the 2014 Leeds City Region Growth Deal, as well as up to £500 million over 15-20 years for the Greater Cambridge Partnership, agreed as part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal.