UK Shared Prosperity Fund
The Head of Regeneration, Economic Development and Property introduced the report which set-out details regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) from which Swale Borough Council (SBC) had received a funding allocation of £1,169,496. To access this funding, the Council must produce a Local Investment Plan, to be submitted to Government no later than 1 August 2022. She explained that the funding allocation was based on a matrix of population size (70%) and deprivation measures (30%). The Head of Regeneration, Economic Development and Property drew Members’ attention to the hyperlink in the report which set out guidance on what local authorities could include in their Investment Plan. She highlighted paragraphs 3.9 and 3.10 in the report which referred to the formation of a Member working group and also an external partnership group, which was a requirement of the fund.
Members made comments and raised the following questions:
· It was unfortunate that there was such a tight deadline for producing the Local Investment Plan;
· there would be more added value to the distribution of funds if they were given to schemes that funds had already been committed to, such as to town centres;
· delegation to officers and to the Chair was essential due to the time constraints;
· consideration needed to be given on whether the funding went to town centres specifically or wider areas, however acknowledged that sometimes outlying areas were more prosperous;
· noted that the Member working group would be made up from one Member from each group, but this excluded Members who were ungrouped, all members needed to be involved;
· requested that all Members be sent a copy of the Local Investment Plan before it was submitted to Government;
· Queenborough Town Council should be included within the external partnership group;
· how were the business representatives on the external partnership group selected?;
· there should be representation from the unparished areas of Halfway and Milton Regis;
· acknowledged the Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) were represented, but not all parish councils were members of KALC; and
· suggested a ‘call-out’ be made to invite parish councils to join the group.
The Head of Regeneration, Economic Development and Property confirmed that membership of the Member working group was: Councillors Monique Bonney, James Hall, Mike Henderson, Bill Tatton, Roger Truelove, Tim Valentine and Mike Whiting. She responded to the points raised and explained that: the business representatives had not been agreed yet; there was a balance on speed and size on who was included in the external partnership group, bearing in mind the tight deadline; the Member working group was meeting on 8 July 2022, subject to its approval by the Committee, with arrangements for the external partnership group to be advised.
Councillor James Hunt moved the following motion: That ungrouped Members should also be invited to sit on the Member working group. This was seconded by Councillor Cameron Beart. On being put to the vote the motion was lost.
(1) That it be agreed to prioritise interventions and outcomes which best supported delivery of the Council’s adopted strategy framework and agreed member priorities.
(2) That it be agreed that the Council seek to broadly allocate funding across Faversham, Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey, taking account of population and deprivation on a 70:30 basis.
(3) That the political membership of the Member Working Group and the Local Panel be agreed.
(4) That the submission of the final Local Investment Plan be delegated to the Head of Regeneration, Economic Development and Property, in consultation with the Chair of the Regeneration and Property Committee.