The British government pledged Saturday to match European Union funding for farmers, universities and infrastructure projects after Britain leaves the bloc, to stem fears that key sectors will be left struggling.
The commitment, intended to address uncertainty over the impact of the June 23 vote for Brexit, could cost around £4.5 billion ($5.8 billion) a year, finance minister Philip Hammond said.
The commitment applies to agricultural funds until 2020, structural and investment projects signed before the government’s budget update this autumn and university bids won under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
“We recognise that many organisations across the UK 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 in a statement.
“The government will also match the current level of agricultural funding until 2020, providing certainty to our agricultural community, which plays a vital role in our country.”
The cost will depend on the level of applications for funds and on when Britain leaves the EU.
The government has said it will not trigger the two-year withdrawal process before the end of this year.