Local Delivery of European Social Funding One of Best in Scotland
Local MP Alyn Smith has echoed praise for Stirling’s delivery of European Social Fund projects, as representatives from the European Commission visited Stirling Council to find out more – but has lamented the end of such funding due to Brexit.
Selected by the Scottish Government to showcase local projects supported by the fund, Stirling Council programmes have helped develop skills and employability capacity in the community, as well as help tackle poverty and social exclusion.
Stirling’s Enhanced Advice Service was also praised, which offers advice on welfare benefits and income maximisation, whilst efforts to assist refugees settling in Stirling have been boosted through English language courses, money management advice and social inclusion activities to help New Scots build a life in the city.
Stirling Council’s application to the ESF programme was approved in 2015 and subsequently extended in 2019. Scotland’s access to ESF Programme funding has been replaced by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, as a consequence of Brexit.
Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:
‘It’s an absolute tragedy that as we begin to see the fruits from almost a decade of work, Brexit cuts the funding short. I’d join the Scottish Government and EU Commission in praising the work of Stirling Council since 2015 to administer European Social Fund programmes and ensure they helped communities in Stirling out of poverty and exclusion.
‘Forget the three-word slogans: ESF funding was levelling-up done correctly, and over the years helped countless organisations, households and businesses in Stirling and across Scotland develop and flourish. The replacement UK schemes barely touch the sides, and already I’m hearing rumblings of the sheer amount of paperwork, forms and red tape required to apply – ironic, given past declarations about the red-tape Brexit would quash. The people of Stirling deserve better, and independence in Europe would see us return to EU funding and research schemes, as part of a global A-team.’