UK Treasury chief Philip Hammond has given a guarantee that farming and science projects funded by the EU will continue to receive money even after the Brexit. But taxpayers will have a large bill to foot.
The British government said on Saturday that it would continue to provide funds to agriculture, infrastructure and science projects currently financed by the European Union once the UK leaves the bloc.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told British media that plugging the gap in funding left by the EU would cost taxpayers around 4.5 billion pounds (5.2 billion euros) a year.
Hammond said that farmers, scientists and other current or prospective recipients of EU funding "want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive" after Britain leaves the bloc in accordance with a referendum result from June 23.
Among other things, Hammond said agricultural funding would be matched at current levels until 2020 to provide "certainty to our agricultural community, which play a vital role in our country." After that date, there will be a "transition to new domestic arrangements," according to the Treasury.
British industry is facing uncertainty after the Brexit vote caused companies to postpone investment, while some scientists have also said that their ability to begin multi-year research projects has been affected.
The uncertainty is likely to be of some duration, with the Conservative government under Prime Minister Theresa May saying that it will not trigger the formal two-year exit negotiations process before next year.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents more than 3,000 farmers, landowners and other businesses, welcomed Hammond's announcement on Saturday, saying it would provide a "significant degree of reassurance."
tj/jm (Reuters, AP)