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Regions should control prosperity fund, think tank says

The UK government’s proposed alternative to the European Union’s structural funds should be controlled by combined authorities at local government level, a leading think tank has recommended.

The IPPR think tank said in a report published on 27 February that the government should allow combined local authorities to help set the priorities for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, as well as handle its funds, manage contracts and evaluate the progress of projects. It added that the fund should be designed around local industrial strategies and “enable local areas to grow and develop innovation-based industrial clusters”.

The UK fund was promised in prime minister Theresa May’s election manifesto. It is intended to stimulate economic growth in underdeveloped regions once the UK stops being eligible for European Structural and Investment Funds, which are expected to provide about £8.4 billion to the UK between 2014 and 2020 to tackle low regional economic performance.

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