After Boris Johnson began his first week in office pledging over £3bn of investment in infrastructure and regeneration projects, today 100 Chief Executives of Charities, companies, housing providers and funders join together to call for new PM to commit to building stronger opportunities for people and communities across the UK.
All have signed a joint letter from the Employment Related Services Association and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations which urges Boris Johnson to ensure that outside the EU, organisations can help more people than ever before to build their skills, contribute to society and find purpose through good work.
The European Union currently provides billions in funding to help charities, businesses, local authorities and other funders work together to deliver services to support people through such services.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was announced by the Conservatives in 2017 with the aim of reducing inequalities. The fund presents a rare and valuable opportunity to create a world-leading system which supports young people, those with disabilities or mental health issues and many other groups who need support to gain steady employment.
Hundreds of charities, businesses, local authorities and other funders work together to deliver services to help people today, much of it co-funded by €4.9bn from the EU European Social Fund between 2014 and 2020. This amount is set to increase from 2020 – 2027 by over 20%.
Together, signatories call on the Prime Minister to confirm that under his leadership:
- The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help the UK achieve its post-Brexit potential by providing support for disadvantaged groups and communities that often fall through the gaps of existing state provision.
- Funding for employment and skills support allocated from the Shared Prosperity Fund will not fall below levels that would have been received through funding had the UK remained in the EU.
- There will be no funding gap between the closure of the European Social Fund and the distribution of Shared Prosperity Funding to ensure there is no permanent loss of expertise, infrastructure or partnerships for frontline organisations, and consequently, vital support for disadvantaged jobseekers and learners.
Elizabeth Taylor, Interim chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association, said:
“The Prime Minister’s pledge to support greater powers to council leaders and communities to improve local services is welcome provided everyone in those areas can benefit, including more disadvantaged groups. He can set his vision for a UK where all can thrive and contribute to society by showing his commitment to ensuring disadvantaged people and communities can access crucial education, training and employment support.
Organisations funded today by European Social Funds need surety their vital services will continue to be funded after we leave the European Union. The promised UK Shared Prosperity Fund could establish itself as a world leading initiative but needs action now to be designed and ready to deliver in time so every part of society can share in our post-Brexit future.”
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:
The European Social Fund supports vulnerable groups and marginalised communities up and down the country, through a broad range of programmes and initiatives.
With the UK poised to leave the European Union, we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement to bring forward plans on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The government should seize this once in a generation opportunity to develop a world-leading initiative that builds on the best aspects of ESF while addressing some of the design flaws which have led to excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy.”
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
31 July 2019
Dear Prime Minister,
As you consider your priorities over the coming weeks and months and at a crucial time for the United Kingdom, we write to highlight how important it will be to build stronger opportunities for people and communities as we leave the European Union.
Leaving the EU provides us with an opportunity to deliver a world-leading initiative to replace previous investment from the European Social Fund (ESF). Seizing this chance will help more people than ever before to build their skills, contribute to society and find purpose through good work.
Getting this right will also build productivity and nurture a more inclusive economy, strengthening communities in the process and building a better Britain.
Across the UK, hundreds of charities, businesses, local authorities and other funders work together to deliver services targeted at supporting people into work in areas where it is harder to find that good job and for those who have been excluded and not supported by mainstream provision. EU funding between 2014 and 2020 will be €4.9 billion and this amount nearly doubles when match funding is accounted for. To deliver a better impact post 2020 will need an effective level of funding. This should not be less than the matched funding the UK would have been entitled to from the EU from 2020 – 2027.
The Conservative manifesto of 2017 announced the creation of a UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to reduce inequalities. We can build a funding system which works better for the UK, is more flexible and has less bureaucracy. A consultation was promised last year and now much delayed.
Despite a written ministerial statement last year which confirmed the principles of the UKSPF, organisations have had little concrete information allowing them to plan ahead. There is no certainty on how much the fund will have to distribute, when it will be up and running, or the outcomes it will be set up to achieve. Greater clarity and pace will be needed if there is to be a seamless transition from one funding regime to another to avoid the risk of services stopping for individuals who need them most.
These programmes support young people who are not in education, employment or training; single parents who want to get back to work; people with disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health issues as well as ex-offenders who need support to gain steady employment and many others.
For example, Disability Action’s Job Match programme supports people with disabilities gain access to employment opportunities which meet their career aspirations. They transform their clients’ prospects by working directly with employers as well as helping people develop the right education and training. Similarly, Shaw Trust has supported those with common mental health issues into work, working alongside NHS mental health trusts in areas of London.
Investment in employment and skills support will help heal division, build economic resilience and improve health and wellbeing outcomes. Importantly, it will help prepare for potential economic challenges following withdrawal, address skills shortages and reduce pressures on Jobcentre Plus.
Given the importance of this work, we urge you to confirm that under your leadership:
- The UKSPF will help the UK achieve its post-Brexit potential by providing support for disadvantaged groups and communities that often fall through the gaps of existing state provision.
- Funding for employment and skills support allocated from the UKSPF will not fall below levels that would have been received through ESF funding had the UK remained in the EU.
- There will be no funding gap between the closure of EU ESF funding and the distribution of UKSPF funding to ensure there is no permanent loss of expertise, infrastructure or partnerships for frontline organisations, and consequently, vital support for disadvantaged jobseekers and learners.
We extend a collective invitation to see the good work taking place and the impact it is having on people, work and health by visiting any of the current projects delivering positive outcomes across the UK.
|Elizabeth Taylor, Interim Chief Executive, ERSA||Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO|
Full list of signatories below
Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales
Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive
National Housing Federation
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive
Clarion Housing Group
Phil Miles, Group Chief Executive
Mayor’s Fund for London
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive
Graham Duxbury, CEO
Get Set UK
Thomas Hardy, CEO
Give us a Chance
Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director
Gary Clark, CEO
Groundwork NE &Cumbria Groundwork South Yorkshire
Kate Culverhouse, CEO
Alex Hayes, Managing Dorector ESS
Institute of Employability Professionals
Scott Parkin, Chief Executive
Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive
Learning and Work Institute
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive
Genuis Within CIC
Dr Nancy Doyle, Chief Executive
Business in the Community
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive
Ixion Holdings Ltd
Jacqueline Oughton, Managing Director
Chris Hughes, CEO
Henry Terefenko, CEO
Rayhan Haque, Convener, London Good Work Commission
David Wesson, CEO
Monmouthshire Housing Association
John Keegan, CEO
National Enterprise Network
Alex Till, Chairman
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Neil Heslop, CEO
Veejay Patel, Chief Executive
Steve Stewart OBE, Executive Director
Ruth Marks, Chief Executive
Anna Smee, CEO
Royal Mencap Society
Janine Tregelles, Chief Executive
Penny Shimmin, Chief Executive
Acis Group Ltd
Greg Bacon, Chief Executive
Katharine Horler, Chief Executive
Belina Get Ready for Work
Liz Sewell, Director
Sam Windett, Director of Policy
Rosemary Du Rose, Chief Executive
Alan Cavill, Director of Communications and Regeneration,
Graham Jones, Director
Anne Fox, Chief Executive Officer
Brian Bell, CEO
Kieran Gordon, CEO
Seyi Obakin, CEO
Charity Finance Group
Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive
Katherine Murray, Managing Director
All Trades Training Ltd
Courtney Grinham, Managing Director
Clarion Interpreting Limited
Sally Chalk, CEO
Pauline Smith, CEO
Ali Harris, Chief Executive
Business Disability Forum
Diane Lightfoot, CEO
Oliver Jacobs, CEO
The Forward Trust
Mike Trace, CEO
The Growth Company
Mark Hughes, CEO
The Lennox Partnership
Blyth Deans, Chief Executive
The London Community Foundation
Kate Markey, CEO
The Prince’s Trust
Ben Marson, Director of Partnerships
The Salvation Army
Rebecca Keating, Director of Employment
The Wise Group
Sean Duffy, Chief Executive
Ashley McCaul, CEO
Triage Central Limited
Kate Carnegie MBE, Group Managing Director
Network for Europe
Andy Churchill, CEO
Caroline Fox, CEO
Steps to Work
Bhanu Dhir, CEO
Alex Pollock, Founding Director
Tim Cooper, CEO
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive Officer
Vestia Community Trust
Marina Banner, Executive Director
Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive & General Secretary
Dr Matthew Home, CEO Willowdene Rehabilitation
Duncan Berry, Chief Executive Officer
Xyrius Training Limited
Margaret Brewer, Chief Operations Officer
Zest is a trading name of the Netherthorpe & Upperthorpe Community Alliance
Matthew Dean, Chief Executive Officer
Mark Vyner, CEO
Routes to Work
Robin Turner, Chief Executive
Matt Leach, Chief Executive
on behalf of HOLEX
Dipa Ganguli, Principal/Head of Service, Sutton College Adult Education
Mark Hoyland, Group Chief Executive
Paddington Development Trust
Neil Johnston, CEO
Sarah Miller, Chief Executive
Pathways LDN Ltd
Brendan Sarsfield, CEO
Steve Hawkins, Chief Executive
Steve Sherry, CEO
The Consultancy Home Counties (TCHC)
Dale Morgan, Chairman
Pat Roach, Director
The Careers Academy
Raymond Quintal, Director
Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD)
Sue Mountford, Joint CEO
Olive Trailor, Managing Director
Mark Hodgkinson, Chief Executive
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Claire Ainsley, Executive Director
John Baumback, Group Managing Director
Richard Brooks, Director
Chris Luck CB MBE, Chief Executive
Mark Shields, CEO
St Giles Trust
Rob Owen, CEO
Step One Charity
Ellis Rainsford, Chief Executive
Scottish Union of Supported Employment
David Cameron, Chief Executive Officer
Ramesh Moher, Operations Manager
Reed in Partnership
Rhodri Thomas, Managing Director
Ian Parkes, CEO
Steve Woolcock, Head of Employment Training and Skills