U.K. Guarantees Funding for Farmers, Universities After Brexit

August 15, 2016 06:41 AM
English countryside

The U.K. pledged to support British businesses and universities that receive billions of pounds a year from the European Union after the country leaves the 28-nation bloc.

Projects approved before the government’s autumn budget statement will receive full funding, while the Treasury will make arrangements to assess guarantees for projects signed later, according to a statement Saturday on the government’s website. The U.K. also will match the level of agricultural funding until 2020, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in the statement.

“We recognize that many organizations across the U.K. which are in receipt of
EU funding, or expect to start receiving funding, want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive,” Hammond said. “We are determined to ensure that people have stability and certainty in the period leading up to our departure from the EU.”

The announcement comes as the U.K. faces a daunting array of demands from EU nations when exit negotiations begin, heralding a long and complex process that’s likely to generate uncertainty and weigh on business investment.

Research, Farmers

After Brexit, about 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in research funding may drain out of programs seeking to develop new medicines, according to analysts at Shore Capital Group Ltd. Meanwhile, Britain’s farmers are set to lose about 3 billion pounds in subsidies a year from Europe.

From 2007 to 2013, the U.K. received 8.8 billion euros ($9.8 billion) from the EU to fund research, development and innovation activities, according to a December 2015 report by the Royal Society, citing figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The Treasury will “consult closely” with stakeholders to ensure any ongoing funding commitments best serve the U.K.’s national interest, David Gauke, chief secretary to the Treasury, wrote in an Aug. 12 letter to Brexit minister David Davis.

“Leaving the EU means we will want to take our own decisions about how to deliver the policy objectives previously targeted by EU funding,” Gauke wrote.

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