Brackley and district should benefit from £5.4m 'prosperity' funding won by West Northants Council

Brackley and district should benefit from £5.4m ‘prosperity’ funding won by West Northants Council from UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Cycle paths and foot paths could be part of the enhancements possible through the new levelling up funding won by West Northants CouncilCycle paths and foot paths could be part of the enhancements possible through the new levelling up funding won by West Northants Council
Cycle paths and foot paths could be part of the enhancements possible through the new levelling up funding won by West Northants Council

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is to be given the funding from the Government to boost the local economy over the next three years.

The levelling-up funding, provided by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), is the largest allocation in the South East Midlands and will be used to improve people’s life chances, increase skills, create stronger communities, and support local businesses.

The Council submitted its investment plan back in September and underwent a robust consultation process which involved engaging with stakeholders to identify priority areas that would benefit most from a share of the funding.

The funding will be split between three key areas; “Communities and Place” and “People and Skills”, with the largest portion assigned to Supporting Local Businesses.

Some expected outcomes from the funding include:

New and improved cycleways and paths, resulting in increased active travel

Funding for volunteer and social action projects

Measures to reduce the cost of living, improve energy efficiency, and combat fuel poverty and climate change

Decarbonisation and improving the natural environment

Support for new business start-ups and continued support at all stages of development

Driving employment growth, with tailored support and training to help people into work.

An additional £1.9m has been secured as Multiply funding, which is specifically targeted at improving adult numeracy to advance people’s chances of progressing their careers.

Delivery partners are currently being invited to bid for contracts to help the council deliver these numeracy courses for residents aged 19+.

WNC has also been allocated a further £1.367m from the Government under the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), which is a top-up of the UKSPF and aims to support small business and community infrastructure specifically in rural areas.

Final approval for this element of funding is expected in the New Year, with funded programmes to commence in April 2023.

The UKSPF is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025 and replaces European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) funding.