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Growth and recovery could be hampered by short-termism of Government funding

Local London has provided evidence to the Public Accounts Committee enquiry on supporting local economic growth.

The Public Accounts Committee examines the value for money of Government projects, programmes and service delivery.  This enquiry is looking at what government has learned and applied from previous local growth programmes.

Local London has provided testimony from our member boroughs’ experience of bidding into the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) and Levelling Up Fund in 2021, as well as concerns with funding for skills and digital and how they are administered in the UK.

Sarah Murray, Director of Local London, said: “The key message is that a more strategic and longer-term approach to the structure can be far more impactful if local partners have the time and latitude to develop bids in coordination with local stakeholders. Lessons need to be learnt so that the Shared Prosperity Fund, designed to replace EU structural funds, takes the best approaches from the previous EU programme approach and it avoids unwieldy approaches used with the CRF.

“Officers reported that the process for the CRF was bureaucratic, costly and onerous in terms of the detail requested. Furthermore, the bid process and timetable prevented Local London and boroughs from shaping bids locally or developing larger strategic bids together.”

Instead, in its submission to the committee, Local London underlined that to address the complex needs and opportunities of Local London, a multi-year ‘masterplan’, encompassing the different borough’s local and corporate plans into an overall vision for the area should be agreed and funded between the boroughs, Government and the Greater London Authority.

The Public Accounts Committee enquiry is looking to understand:

  • Whether Government understands what has been effective in supporting local economic growth;
  • Whether current plans for supporting local economic recovery apply lessons learned from previous programmes; and
  • Whether Government is putting in place effective plans for monitoring, overseeing and evaluating its new local growth interventions.

The committee will question senior officials from various Government departments on what it has learned and applied from previous local growth programmes.

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