Boosting the skills and productivity of Herefordshire’s workforce is among priorities for government “levelling up” money totalling £8.3 million to be spent in the county over the next two years.

Herefordshire will get £6.6 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), for projects over three themes of “community and place”, “local business” and “people and skills”, the Government has confirmed.

Though much of the detail has yet to be announced, the spending will include supporting people in fuel poverty to reduce their energy costs; boosting the creative and visitor economy; making buildings more efficient; helping businesses to innovate, diversify and scale up; increasing businesses’ energy efficiency; and supporting the county’s emerging environmental technologies sector, as well as funding training to get workers from low-productivity jobs into higher-skilled work.

The spending will be staggered, with just over £800,000 due to be spent this financial year, £1.6 million in the next, and the remaining £4.2 million, or nearly two-thirds, in financial year 2024/25.


Meanwhile, Herefordshire expects to be awarded a further £1.7 million from a separate Rural Prosperity Fund.

Uses for this will include capital grants to help small rural businesses decarbonise and diversify from farming; develop the visitor economy; building up community groups, and funding local “active travel” (cycling and walking) measures.

This spending will be evenly split between financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25.

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The council’s cabinet agreed last week (December 15) to accept both funding packages, with member for economy and environment Coun Ellie Chowns saying the bids “have been subject to wide consultation with stakeholders throughout the county”.

“We are now keen to get on with spending the UKSPF funding with our partners,” she said.

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