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Dickson Voices Serious Concerns Over Lack of Engagement on the Shared Prosperity Fund

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has voiced serious concerns over whether community groups who are currently eligible for EU funding, will miss out on support from the Shared Prosperity Fund.

Mr Dickson said: “A very real consequence of Brexit is that a significant number of Northern Irish community groups, who have relied on EU funding for years, are now facing the very real possibility that their funding needs will not be covered by the UK Government’s replacement scheme.

“Out of concern for these groups, I wrote to the Finance Minister, asking what steps he is taking to ensure these groups do not miss out on Shared Prosperity funding.

“I was extremely disappointed upon receiving his response, to hear that the Department of Finance has received only minimal information on the Shared Prosperity Fund from Westminster.

“The Minister informed me that his officials have been excluded from the policy development and design of the fund, and are acting on the presumption that the fund will be delivered centrally by Whitehall. This would mean that the spending power would be transferred from the Northern Ireland institutions to London”.

Mr Dickson concluded: “I have no doubt that the lack of clarity surrounding the Shared Prosperity Fund will negatively impact the community groups who have traditionally availed of EU funding.

“In order to guard against any potential impacts, I implore the UK Government to engage positively with the Department of Finance, making space for the Minister and his officials to contribute to the development and design of the fund”.

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