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Fight for local control of regional funding scheme

University leaders in the North of England have backed calls from four mayors for devolved control over the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which could contribute to building R&D capacity in underdeveloped parts of the country.

In her 2017 general election manifesto, prime minister Theresa May said she would “use the structural fund money that comes back to the UK following Brexit” to set up the UKSPF to reduce inequalities between the country’s regions. The European Union structural funds were expected to provide about £8.4 billion to the UK between 2014 and 2020 to tackle low regional economic performance.

As the government prepares to launch a consultation into the UKSPF later this year, Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham, Liverpool’s mayor Steve Rotheram, Sheffield’s mayor Dan Jarvis and Tees Valley’s mayor Ben Houchen told the Financial Times on 8 October that they wanted control over the proposed fund.

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