Claire Hanna MP today met with DHLUC Minister Dehenna Davison to urge immediate UK Government intervention to support charities and social enterprises facing a cliff edge following the loss of EU funding. She said:
“Along with charities and groups who provide support and communities, I have been sounding the alarm for many months about the impact of the loss of European Social Funds and the broken promises of the UK Government to ensure this region would not lose out as a result of Brexit. The ESF provided a lifeline to marginalised groups especially those with learning difficulties, but others too facing real barriers to the labour market. It has been clear for years that the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund was not going to be an adequate replacement and the absence of an Executive means that local departments also working on this issues have not stepped in.
“Following a parliamentary debate I secured last month and a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee roundtable event with affected groups last week, I met with the Minister today to highlight the funding gap and the fundamental problems relating to design and scope of the replacement funds. It’s not good enough for distant ministers in London to pick winners and losers with no real sense of strategy and purpose, and with recipients being kept dangling until the last minute. This is no way to provide services.
“Following this interaction, it appears that funding announcements will be made later this week about the ESF replacement component of the SPF, but it is also clear that not all previous recipients will be covered. I pressed the need for meaningful engagement with NI departments, which has been absent in the design of this scheme so far and which is made worse by the DUP’s dereliction of duty over Stormont.”