Brexit will jeopardise financial support.
Between 2007-13, EU social and regional development funds invested around £10 billion across the UK – and a further £10 billion is being invested in 2014-20.
This includes around £4.5 billion from the European Social Fund (ESF) to support programmes in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Gibraltar – aimed largely at:
- increasing employment among young people
- the long-term unemployed
- economically inactive people
- those at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
ESF funding also provides pre-employment and skills training to disadvantaged groups – including disabled people, ethnic minorities, ex-offenders and women needing childcare provision.
Examples of ESF funded enterprises:
- Wales – METaL addresses a skills shortage in materials and manufacturing with courses in welding, corrosion and computer-aided design
- Scotland – New Start Highland tackles poverty, homelessness and long term unemployment including by providing home starter packs and jobs and training around the collection, refurbishment and distribution of furniture
- London – Bad Boys’ Bakery trains inmates of Brixton Prison to become bakers and find work when they are released
After Brexit, it is unclear whether similar funding will be available. Any reduction in funding is likely to have an adverse effect on the most vulnerable in our society