"Everybody has a fair chance" of bidding for a share of £132 million, according to the people who will distribute it in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet agreed today that the council should act as the accountable body for Shared Prosperity Funding.

The Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) has been created by the Government and billed as the vehicle through which Cornwall will get its replacement EU funding. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been awarded £132m for 2022 to 2025 – an average of £44m per year.

When the announcement of the funding was made there was criticism that it was much lower than what was previously received from the EU and lower than the bid which had been made by Cornwall Council. It had sought around £100m a year from the Government.

However supporters have highlighted that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have received one of the largest settlements from the SPF in the UK. And MPs and councillors have also said that Cornwall is also receiving other Government money including Levelling Up funds and Town Deal funds.

Louis Gardner, Cabinet member for the economy, said that he believed that the SPF would be more effective than EU funding as it would have fewer restrictions attached to it and would also be open to more organisations.

He said: “Everybody has a fair chance. It is very, very different to the old European social funds which had a strict set of parameters about who was eligible and not eligible.”

Cllr Gardner said that there would be support in place for individuals and organisations that want to apply for funding from the SPF, to help them through the application process, and he said that everyone “from a one man charity to a large local body will have the same chance” to access money from the fund.

The Conservative councillor also added that “no longer will we give money because money has always been given” and said that it was new money coming into Cornwall to help promote economic prosperity and growth.

As well as becoming the accountable body for the SPF, the council’s Cabinet has also agreed to set up a joint committee between Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly to oversee the allocation of funding. This CIOS Economic Prosperity Board will also oversee the SPF Investment Plan which is being drawn up.

In the investment plan the council has detailed how the funding will be split across three priority investment areas: 'community and place', 'supporting local businesses' and 'people and skills'.

The overall pot for 2022 to 2025 will be divided with £47.41m for community and place; £64.96m for supporting local businesses; and £12m for people and skills. Another £5.18m has been allocated for the management of the programme.

A further £2.45m has been allocated for the Multiply programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – a Government scheme aiming to boost numeracy skills amongst adults, which will be funded through the SPF.

In addition the council’s Cabinet has also set out some of the areas where it will be inviting bids for funding in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This includes:

  • £4.4m cultural events programme
  • £10.82m culture and heritage-led regeneration
  • £5.198m community hubs
  • £1.5m digital connectivity and inclusion within the wider Community Connectivity theme
  • £18.7m strategic business, enterprise and research and development infrastructure
  • £4.4m town, rural and coastal high street development and skills programme