‘No-deal’ Brexit planning is stood down as EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected to pass this month

Suzanne AllenBlog & News

The UK Government has decided to step down preparations for leaving the EU without a deal.

Julia Sweeney, Director of European Programmes and Local Growth at Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), has written to our CSI representatives on the Growth Programme Board providing an update on the standing down of ‘no deal’ Brexit preparations for ESIF programmes.

MHCLG along with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Agriculture and Rural affairs (Defra) have stood down the ‘no deal’ preparations for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Programmes.

The news comes as the government expects the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) to be passed by 31 January, following successful vote at the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

It is understood that under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the current 2014-2020 EU programmes. This includes the ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF programmes which will continue to operate as originally planned until closure, maintaining investment in communities and the economic priorities of places across the country.

MHCLG has confirmed to project beneficiaries that:

• Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the 2014-2020 ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF Programmes in England and other EU programmes until their closure. The terms under which the Implementation Period end do not affect this arrangement.

• Grant recipients should continue to deliver activities and submit claims to departments in line with their funding agreements.

• Applications for funding will be progressed as usual, either for existing bids or applications for new funding.

The message still stands that ESF and ERDF funding is guaranteed until the end of 2023, while advice from the government is that those running projects should continue making claims for payment and deliver the funding under current arrangements as contracted with confidence and certainty.