Plan to invest £30 million in County Durham approved

A plan outlining how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will be invested in County Durham has been approved by government.

In July, Durham County Council submitted its UKSPF Investment Plan outlining how it will spend the £30 million it has been allocated by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The plan sets out how the funding will be invested into the county over the next three years, following the themes of communities and place, supporting local businesses, and people and skills.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are delighted our plan for how to spend our share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has been approved. The plan was developed with range of local partners, stakeholders, MPs, and residents to ensure it addresses key priorities for the county. The funding will play a key role in delivering the priorities in the county’s new Inclusive Economic Strategy.

“It will enable us to deliver an exciting programme of investment to support our economy and increase prosperity across the county. The UKSPF aims to build pride in place and increase life chances, something we are ambitious to deliver across County Durham.”

Investment through the UKSPF will be used to support the growth of the county’s economy by focusing on strengthening local businesses and helping them to set up, sustain, grow, and innovate.

This also includes activities focusing on green technology and decarbonisation, supporting the council’s Climate Emergency Response Plan in which it has pledged to achieve net zero in its operations by 2030, and make the county carbon neutral by 2045.

The UKSPF plan also outlines how money will be used to revitalise town centres across the county by enhancing community and neighbourhood infrastructure, increasing a sense of pride in local communities.

It will focus on boosting the county’s tourism, cultural, and heritage offer; building on the council’s existing festivals and events programme to raise its profile as the culture county and further attract visitors at a local and international level.

The UKSPF will also be used to support people into employment by increasing life and work skills within communities.

The council will use the money to provide a broad employment and skills support offer, with activities focusing on addressing sector pressure and skills shortages.

Glyn Llewelyn, chair of the County Durham Economic Partnership, said: “County Durham Economic Partnership, which includes the voluntary and business sectors, as well as our key anchor institutions, has worked with Durham County Council to develop an investment plan for this funding which will maximise the value of every pound in driving forward our ambitious Inclusive Economic Strategy. Its approval by Government recognises this, and I am very much looking forward to working with partners to bring forward the programme of activity it will deliver.”

Plan to invest £30 million in County Durham approved

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