We are rightly proud of our unique cashback for communities programme, and we have published information by local authority area on the cashback website. That demonstrates that, to the end of March 2015, young people from South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire, which the member’s constituency spans, have directly benefited from over £1.95 million of cashback investment.
All cashback projects are required, under the terms of their grants, to focus activity in deprived areas and on disadvantaged young people. Funding for phase 3 of the programme is committed through to the end of March 2017 and phase 4 will commence in April 2017. The Cabinet Secretary for Justice has yet to make decisions on the next tranche of funding, but I can assure the member that it will build on the success of the cashback programme, targeting more deprived areas, reducing inequalities and obtaining maximum benefit for communities.
The minister has anticipated my follow-up question a little, but will he give more detail on the plans that the Scottish Government has to develop the fund further and to implement the recommendations of the evaluation report that was published in 2014? I am particularly concerned that any funding that is available is distributed in a fair and proportionate manner across the country, and I have concerns that my constituency is perhaps getting less than it should from cashback for communities.
The recommendations in the evaluation report, which primarily deal with the process, are being implemented. As I stated in my initial response, I can reassure the member that we will build on the success of the cashback programme and we will target more deprived areas, reducing inequalities and obtaining maximum benefit.
For phase 3, which I mentioned, we have to have additional discussions with key partners such as YouthLink Scotland, Youth Scotland, the Prince’s Trust and Creative Scotland to finalise details, but I reassure the member that all cashback partners are required under the terms of their grant to focus activity on areas of deprivation and on disadvantaged young people. Cashback funding is rightly focused in communities that are hit by crime and antisocial behaviour. However, we have taken the view that it is also right that all 32 local authority areas in Scotland should benefit from those activities and facilities.
The member might be aware of a number of key projects in the two local authorities in question that are funded through partners. For example, there has been investment of almost £0.5 million through the Scottish Football Association, almost £460,000 through YouthLink, £291,000 through the Scottish Rugby Union and £211,000 through the link up project. There are significant areas of activity. We are working with local and national partners to deliver in East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire. I hope that that benefits young people in Mr Ingram’s constituency.