UK to match EU funds
THE British government has pledged to match EU funding for farmers, universities and infrastructure projects following Brexit, as it sought to allay fears over key sectors.
The commitment, intended to address uncertainty arising from the decision to quit the European Union, could cost £4.5 billion (US$5.8 billion) a year, finance minister Philip Hammond said.
The vow applies to agricultural funds until 2020, structural and investment projects signed before the government’s budget update this autumn, and university bids won under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
The cost will depend on the level of applications for funds, and on when Britain leaves the EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government has indicated it will not trigger the two-year EU withdrawal process before the end of this year.
Campaigners for Britain to stay in the EU had highlighted the funding benefits to key sectors.
But the Brexit camp argued that any shortfall could be covered by ending Britain’s contributions to the EU budget, which stood at about £12.9 billion in 2015, after the rebate.
Projects covered by the government’s guarantee include a new facility at the University of Manchester to develop research into graphene using £5 million from the European Regional Development Fund. –