New warnings have been issued to Michael Gove that vulnerable people risk long-term unemployment after Tories pledged to replace EU funding lost to Brexit.
State Secretary for Leveling is urged by experts to end delays and reductions in “leveling” cash promised under the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).
The scheme was intended to replace European Union grants that Britain no longer receives after leaving the bloc, but it saw a reduction of £ 2 billion over three years and a one-year delay that costs poor parts of the UK another 1.5 pounds. billion.
Employment assistance could start to disappear
Meanwhile, vulnerable people such as school-leavers, people with disabilities and people over 50, who have been helped by EU funding to develop skills for the world of work, are also threatened, according to the Association of Employment Services (ERSA).
In a letter to Gove, seen by The independentERSA asked when the SPF would finally come into effect and how much the reductions would be compared to the amount pledged to match EU money.
Elizabeth Taylor, managing director of ERSA, warned Gove that some service providers would stop helping Britons enter the workforce due to “lingering uncertainty”.
She said: “This could lead to some of the most vulnerable in society no longer getting the help they need. It is paramount that this does not happen, especially in a post-Covid economy where support is needed most. “
“EU funding has long been part of employability contracts, dating back to the 1980s. It has always been able to reach people who were not actively involved in the labor market for whatever reason, and it was able to respond to local skills and employment challenges.
“We still don’t know when the new Shared Prosperity Fund will start. My concern is that, if this is allowed to drift, we will start to lose employment support recipients. “
Conservative ‘leveling up’ promise
Taylor added that clarification is needed on how much money the work programs will get from the government and whether local authorities will have control of the money or whether Gove will make “all the key decisions.”
ERSA, which advocates for high quality services for job seekers and low wages in Britain, has warned of the risk of losing EU funding to employment programs over the two last years.
New funding pledged to ‘upgrade’ the country by the Tories in the last general election is expected in late January, but the government budget revealed the SPF would only get £ 2.6bn over three years, compared to the £ 4.5 billion that the UK would have received under the EU.
Meanwhile, regions such as South Yorkshire, Tees Valley and Durham have become impoverished since the last spending round and are set to lose £ 900million and, respectively, £ 750million after Brexit.
Related: Industrial communities protest as North sees funding cut after Brexit
Cornwall’s exit vote sees funding cut after Brexit