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EU Regional Funding

Volume 615: debated on Thursday 20 October 2016

4. What discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on EU regional funding as part of his preparations for negotiations on the UK leaving the EU. (906690)

The Chancellor has already announced that the Government will guarantee EU structural and investment funding signed before we leave the EU. In addition, when UK organisations bid directly and competitively for EU funding for projects, that funding will be guaranteed by the Treasury if the bids are won before our departure. Those guarantees will extend to 2020, effectively the end of this Parliament.

The Minister has quoted part of what the Chancellor said, but he also said that finance will be guaranteed to bidders

“whose projects meet UK priorities”.

Does that imply that the UK Government will try to change agreed priorities for EU expenditure?

No. Over the coming months the Government will consult all interested parties—including the devolved Administrations, who clearly have an interest in this policy—to ensure that future funding commitments represent value for money and are in line with our strategic priorities.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one great advantage of the UK leaving the EU is that it will give us greater flexibility over how we spend our regional aid, and that as we will no longer be paying as a net contributor to the EU, we will have more money to spend on these schemes?

My hon. Friend is right. This particular area, like many other aspects of policy, gives the United Kingdom the opportunity to reassess these arrangements and ensure that they meet the UK’s priorities.