Responding to the Government’s announcement outlining how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be allocated, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair, Martin McTague, said: “The redistribution of UK Shared Prosperity Funds following Brexit was a great opportunity to rebalance the business support system, delving into how funds are best spent to benefit small firms across the UK.
“We have long campaigned for the fund to at least match what would have been distributed from EU structural funds. Yet almost 18 months on from transition, the UK government is still using EU funding to prop up its own shortcomings.
“As a result businesses are being left short-changed. Some growth hubs are due to come to the end of their funding stream within weeks, leaving businesses high and dry. If the Government fails to prioritise and fund growth-focused business support, it will put a wrecking ball through the Levelling Up agenda, which should all be about sharing prosperity.
“Business cannot wait until 2024 or for the public sector to work out its devolution deals before they access much needed support. Government can take action now by ensuring that no growth hub will have its funding stream end, allowing businesses to get on with the job.
“This could have been a transformative moment to recast business support across the country, repurposing funds towards improving productivity in areas that are struggling the most. But it seems the previous inequalities in funding will continue, missing a huge opportunity."