Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK

Posted 06.12.2019

The European Social Fund has provided essential resource to reduce social and economic inequalities for disadvantaged people and communities across the UK. Often it supports those who may have been excluded from, or are not well served by, mainstream provision due to complex support needs, such as ex-offenders or those with disabilities.

Its flexibility, targeted geographical focus and use of regional structures has provided space for the development of long term innovative programmes that work for individuals as well as supporting local growth agendas.

However, as the UK prepares to leave the EU, there is widespread concern about whether funding currently received from the EU via the European Social Fund (ESF) will be replaced. And, if it is replaced, whether the scale and focus will enable the new fund to continue to provide the vital employment, skills and social inclusion services that ESF currently funds to help some of the most disadvantaged people and communities in our society.

There is an opportunity available for the UK government to make this support work even better and harder for the communities that need it in a post-Brexit Britain. However, to realise this opportunity, we need to act quickly and cleverly.  With some ESF funded work due to run out in 2020, we need to work now, to ensure that there is no gap in service for the people and communities that need it most.

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