Since the 2017 Conservative Manifesto announced the creation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, ERSA has been campaigning for a seamless transition to this new funding regime. Through several policy recommendations, forums and campaigns, ERSA has represented the employment support sector when attempting to shape and influence UKSPF employment and skills provision.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is the Government’s domestic replacement for the European Structural and Investment Programme (ESIF) which the UK continues to participate in until 2023.

England SPF people and skills 2023 – the next stage starts now. Act!
Write to your local councils and ask what their plans are to address economic inactivity, to support local employers fill vacancies, and what employment support and skills provisions they plan to fund. Tell them about your organisation.  Use the template ERSA provided for guidance.

Successful campaign unlocks funding for marginalised unemployed

UK Shared Prosperity presents a worrying time for Employment Support

UKSPF: Template for ERSA members to send to lead local authorities

ERSA recommendations and actions; 

See also immediate actions for ERSA members

A place for ERSA members, partners and guests to come together, share intel, network and collaborate!

Join Elizabeth Taylor, CEO of ERSA for an online working group for UKSPF updates, intel gathering and actions!

Cognisoft: Will The Shared Prosperity Fund Really Level Up Local Areas?

May 2022 – catch up with previous UKSPF Forum meetings
5 May, 11am – watch on demand 
16 May, 11am – watch on demand
26 May, 11am  – watch on demand
10 June, 11am – watch on demand with Prof Steve Fothergill

ERSA’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund Statement

Response to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus (13 April)

What have we got to lose?

Thanks to the submissions of our members, we have been able to produce a portfolio of case studies on how European money is used in the employment support sector. You can view and download the portfolio here.

It is well known by now, that under current plans, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will not invest in ‘People and Skills’ until 2024-2025. Throughout the portfolio, we have included the end dates on current ESF and BBO funded programmes and most of these currently end in March 2023.

This leaves a gap in funding of at least nine months.

People will lose out on support, organisations will close down, and people will be made redundant if things don’t change.

How should I use the portfolio?

“What Have We Got to Lose?” should be used as a campaigning tool to make some noise about the good work that we do as a sector. We need to make our voices heard and make the decision-makers understand the importance of our provision.

A reoccurring theme throughout the ERSA Conference was: as a sector, we’re currently at a cliff edge and if we don’t raise our profile, we could be left behind in the plans for Levelling Up.

ERSA has already sent the portfolio to every MP and Local Authority CEO, but we need your help to raise awareness further.

Send the portfolio to your MP, your local authority leaders, chief executives, LEPs, Chamber of Commerce, and anyone else in your locality who should be interested in employment and skills.

Invite them to visit you, get them to talk to ERSA about the wider employment support landscape, and offer to help them shape local UK Shared Prosperity Funded projects.

As a collective voice, we can force a change to existing plans, but let’s start by being proactive and letting people know about the good work that we do!

Please get behind ERSA’s work, contact the team via

Letters to Ministers regarding UKSPF and Levelling Up White Paper

In January 2022 we received a letter from Neil O’Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution. We are also in conversation with Lisa Nandy’s team.

In December 2021, ERSA wrote to the Secretary, and Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove and Lisa Nandy, to air our concerns over the Government’s forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper. The letter itself argued for new funding to at least match previous European funding, some clarity over how the fund will be commissioned, who will control it and to avoid a gap in funding so providers of important services are not lost. The Independent reported on ERSA’s concerns as did the London Economic and FENews also gave ERSA a platform to make this case. Read ERSA’s open letters to Michael Gove and Lisa Nandy.

ERSA comments on ‘Way to Work’ in the media (January)

Forbes: Coercion Not Required: UK Government’s New Scheme Sets Risky Goal For Unemployment

ERSA responds to government’s new initiative ‘Way to Work’

FE News: Way to Work: “Any job now” is no solution to UK labour crisis

Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK

In November 2019, ERSA launched ‘Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK’, a report with evidence and recommendations from the sector on how monies from the EU could be replaced with a new fund. Sponsored by The Salvation Army and Shaw Trust, the report details how the UK has benefited from European Social Fund (ESF) support. The full report can be read here.


In July 2019, ERSA and NCVO wrote a joint letter to the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, emphasising the importance of a replacement for the European Social Fund post-Brexit. The letter calls for clarity on the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is co-signed by 100 Chief Executives of charities and businesses across the UK. Read the letter in full and view the list of signatories here.

Since then, ERSA and the NCVO reconvened their forum on UKSPF, which allowed a variety of organisations to agree on actions to take as a group linking UKSPF messaging to the Levelling Up agenda and the White Paper.

Community Renewal Fund Forum

The UK Community Renewal Fund will provide £220 million additional funding to help places across the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches and will invest in skills, community and place, local business and supporting people into employment. ERSA launched its Community Renewal Fund Forum in January 2022, bringing together local authority leaders, Community Renewal Fund project organisations and ERSA members to collaborate and share best practice.

ERSA hosted the first CRF Forum for members and organisations involved in funded projects. We will shortly announce our co-chairs, aims for the forum along with a schedule of dates we will meet online. If you would like to discuss or get involved, email the team via

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