EU funding for farmers, scientists and other projects will be replaced by the Treasury after Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.
In a move which could cost up to £4.5bn a year, the Treasury will guarantee to back EU-funded projects signed before this year’s Autumn Statement.

Agricultural funding now provided by the EU will also continue until 2020.
But governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the guarantee does not go far enough.

Voters backed leaving the EU in the 23 June referendum but Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated the UK government will not trigger Article 50, which would begin a two-year process to leave, during 2016.

Mr Hammond said EU structural and investment fund projects signed before the Autumn Statement later this year, and Horizon research funding granted before leaving the EU, will be guaranteed by the Treasury after the UK leaves.

The EU’s 80bn euro (£69bn) Horizon 2020 programme awards funding for research and innovation and is open to UK institutions while the country remains a member.

‘Stability and certainty’

The chancellor said the government was “determined to ensure that people have stability and certainty in the period leading up to our departure from the EU”.

The Treasury said it would assess whether to guarantee funding for certain other projects “that might be signed after the Autumn Statement, but while we remain a member of the EU”.

Organisations such as universities bidding for EU funding before the UK leaves would have that money underwritten by the government.

At present, farmers receive subsidies and other payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

They get about £3bn a year in subsidies, with the biggest farmers pocketing cheques of £1m. The grants are given for owning land and also taking care of wildlife.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said the Treasury’s announcement was “positive” for farming.

Its president Meurig Raymond said: “I hope that this short-term certainty will help to deliver longer-term confidence and this is exactly what farm businesses need now.”
The structural and investment funds that will be guaranteed include CAP pillar two, the European Social Fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, including European Territorial Cooperation.

Source: BBC

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