Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority, but as a responsible Government we are, of course, also making preparations to ensure that the country is ready for every eventuality across all sectors of the economy. I have made substantial funding available to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU in all scenarios. HMRC has written on no-deal preparations to 145,000 EU-only traders, and the Government have produced a partner pack to support stakeholders in preparing for a no-deal scenario.
Let me put it this way: since 2016 I have made more than £4.2 billion available for EU exit planning, and funding for the 2019-20 financial year has now been allocated to Departments. That is funding to prepare the Government for leaving the EU in any scenario. In addition, I have made arrangements to ensure that Departments and the devolved Administrations can fund measures to address urgent civil contingencies in a no-deal scenario.
The Chancellor has rightly made very clear his determination to avoid a no-deal Brexit. How in practice does the Treasury distinguish between those no-deal preparations that have enduring value for money and those that will have been wasted in the event that he is successful?
Some of the expenditure being undertaken by Departments will be required in any case for our post-EU future, whether we leave with a deal or no deal, but I have made no bones about the fact that some of the expenditure is of a precautionary nature. The expenditure will be nugatory if the deal is agreed and we leave with a smooth trajectory. Every responsible Government, across all areas of activity, undertake expenditure to deal with potential contingencies, to ensure that the country is prepared for eventualities that may arise. It is proper that we should do so.
Deal or no deal, one deal that is really working is the nuclear sector deal. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is a hugely important venture in the south-west and that we should support and encourage it? So far, it has put £900 million into the south-west economy.
Obviously, we are disappointed by Hitachi’s decision to suspend work on the Wylfa project, but we have not given up hope. It retains the site and we hope that the work we are doing on a possible alternative financing model may yet allow the project to go ahead, but I am very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman.