Government guarantee for post-EU funds is encouraging news for two of our key sectors

“The Treasury’s recent announcement on the underwriting of various EU-funded projects is highly relevant to the education and agribusiness sectors that we operate in,” said Mills & Reeve senior partner Justin Ripman.

“The Referendum outcome has resulted in uncertainty for a number of sectors and organisations which are in receipt of EU funding streams but the announcement from Chancellor Philip Hammond provides some reassurance over future funding after the UK’s departure from the EU. 

“A number of UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funded projects. Concerns had been raised by some partner institutions in other EU countries as to whether to collaborate with UK institutions on EU funding projects, such as universities and businesses participating in the Horizon 2020 project. The Treasury has now confirmed it will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue after the UK leaves the EU. This should encourage such institutions to continue bidding for EU funds for as long as the UK remains a member of the EU. 

“In the agriculture sector, many individuals and organisations bid for, and carry out, multi-year agri-environment projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs). There has been some nervousness about starting, or progressing, such long term projects when it was unclear as to what would happen when the UK leaves the EU. The Treasury has now confirmed that such projects with signed contracts or funding agreements in place before the Autumn Statement, will be fully funded, notwithstanding the UK’s departure from the EU. Mr Hammond has also guaranteed that the current level of agricultural funding through annual direct payments under CAP Pillar 1 will be upheld until 2020, as part of the transition to new domestic arrangements. 

“Perhaps less encouraging was news that there is some evidence of tension between the Foreign Office and the new Department for International Trade over who controls key parts of our foreign policy. It is vital that our Government remains focussed on developing a clear strategy for our negotiations to leave the EU.”

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