On the day of the Autumn Statement, Jonathan Edwards questions the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the replacement of lost EU regional money. Watch or read his contribution here.
Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC):
The Chancellor quite rightly noted at the beginning of his statement that one of the big challenges that he faces is the gross wealth inequality in the British state—a task that will be made harder with the loss of EU structural funds—so is it his intention in future statements to announce a UK convergence fund to replace the lost EU regional money?
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond:
I recognise the hon. Gentleman’s concern. He will know that I have made two statements since becoming Chancellor seeking to reassure businesses, universities and others who apply for EU grant funding that, where they are successful in such applications, however long the funding runs on, we will underwrite it, so if Brussels does not foot the bill, the Treasury will. But he is absolutely right: we will have to put in place alternative arrangements for the period after we leave the EU. We will have to have a discussion with the devolved Administrations about how that works—between Whitehall and the devolved administrations—and once we get into the negotiation with the EU, we can start to see the direction of travel. I think that it will then be appropriate to have this discussion, but I do recognise the concern.