Report of the Chief Executive
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change, MCI, Economic Development, Heritage, Arts, Tourism and Health & Wellbeing presented a report which provided an outline of the rationale and priorities for UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Wiltshire and highlighted the steps and key features of the Wiltshire Council Investment Plan.
The Leader and officers reported that the Council had prepared an Investment Plan, in line with a request by Government, which outlined how the Council would invest £5.7m on investments and local actions made in support of the government’s Levelling-Up agenda for 2022-2025. It was noted that the Investment Plan aligned to the aims and priorities of the Council’s Business Plan 2022-2031 and would be submitted to the DLUHC at the end of July 2022.
Cllr Ian Thorn welcomed the report and commented on the timeframes for submitting the Investment Plan to Government and the expected start date, the process for engaging communities and devolving resources at a local level. In response, the Leader and officers highlighted the work being undertaken by the Council and Partners in areas of the county with high levels of deprivation, with the programme being led by the Director of Public Health. Details about how funding could be devolved would be considered further once government approval has been achieved.
Cllr Jon Hubbard commented on the allocation of funds and how these would be devolved to communities once received by the Council. He expressed a concern that Government may place restrictions on the Council in relation to how the funding is allocated. Cllr Hubbard noted that the level of funding was modest compared to the many areas of deprivation within the Wiltshire Council boundary. In response, the Leader agreed that constraints in the allocation of funds were not welcomed, confirmed that an element of funding would be devolved to the micro level for allocation, and provided assurances that communities were best placed in determining the allocation of funding at a local level.
Cllr Gordon King asked about the work with partners in those areas of high deprivation and if this would influence the allocation of Investment Plan funding and whether the outcomes could be transferred to other areas of deprivation. In response, the Leader indicated that the work being undertaken in Bemerton Heath, Salisbury and Studley Green, Trowbridge, is a starting point and potentially, consideration would be given to the top 6 or 7 deprived areas in the Wiltshire Council boundary.
Cllr Stewart Palmen welcomed the report and indicated that Trowbridge had two areas of deprivation, with the potential for a proportion of Investment Plan funding. In response, the Leader explained that Government approval of funds was key in moving forward with allocations.
Reason for Decision:
To agree the priorities and a coherent approach to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and authorise submission of the Investment Plan