Levelling Up Fund
11th March 2021
What is the Levelling up Fund?
As part of the Government’s annual spending review undertaken in November 2020, Rishi Sunak announced a £4bn ‘Levelling Up Fund’ to be spent up to 2025.
The new fund aims to create a ‘new, holistic, place-based approach’ and will invest in local projects worth up to £20m including bypasses and other local road schemes, bus lanes, railway station upgrades, regeneration eye sores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure and local arts and culture.
The fund will be managed jointly between the Treasury, the Department for Transport and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The MHCLG provided further detailed information on the submission of bids in March 2021 Levelling Up Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Who is the fund targeted at?
The fund is open to all Local Authorities in England and bids will be prioritised that seek to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, and in areas that have received less Government investment in recent years as the Government looks to redistribute investment nationally. Funding will be allocated taking account of the following three factors:
- need for economic recovery and growth;
- need for improved transport connectivity; and
- need for regeneration
How much funding is available?
£600m will be available through the Levelling Up Fund up until the end of 2021 for projects that support their local community. With a further £3.4 bn available to 2025.
The Fund will present opportunities for projects that require up to £20m of funding. There is also scope for the Government to invest in larger high value transport projects. Bids above £20m and below £50m will be accepted for transport projects only. Funding bids will require a more detailed business case. Local authorities may wish to consider pooling funding from their bids in order to improve the chance of taking forward a larger transport scheme.
Approximately £320m of unallocated money from the Towns Fund (FHSF) will now be refunnelled into the levelling up scheme.
How can you bid for funding?
The funding will be delivered through Local Authorities.
The number of bids that a Local Authority can make will relate to the number of MPs in their area. Local Authorities can submit one bid for every MP constituency that lies wholly within their boundary.
Where an MP’s constituency crosses multiple local authorities, one Local Authority should take responsibility as the lead bidder and local areas should work together to designate that lead bidder.
Authorities that have already benefited from the £3.6bn Towns Fund will still be eligible for grants.
Which schemes will be suitable for funding?
3 key themes for the first round of investment:
- Transport Investments – Transport projects that make a genuine difference to local areas;
- Regeneration and town centre investment – Town centre and high street regenerations (carried over Towns Fund);
- Cultural Investment – Support for maintaining and expanding a Local Authority’s cultural and heritage assets.
The assessment process for the allocation of funding will focus on the following criteria:
- Characteristics of the area;
- Strategic fit with local fund priorities; and
- Value for money.
How Can Continuum help?
Continuum have a proven track record in supporting Local Authority bids for grant funding and preparing HMT Green Book compliant business cases using the five case business model.
Continuum are able to provide a one-stop-shop of services that include:
- Viability and feasibility studies that enable the identification of gap funding;
- Value for Money calculation based on the HMT Green Book using benefit cost ratio analysis;
- HMT Green Book compliant business cases; and
- Development Management support throughout the whole process of delivery.
Last year Continuum produced two successful business cases for a Local Authority client located in the North West successfully securing funding from MHCLG Get Building Fund for two schemes worth circa £7,500,000.
Continuum have also been successful in securing funding for the Godley Green Garden Village project equating to £10,000,000 from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.