Well Mairtin it’s a start!

EU structural and investment projects in Northern Ireland signed before the British chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn statement will be guaranteed after Brexit, the Treasury in London has said.

The current level of agricultural backing, which underpins the farming industry, will also be matched by the British government until 2020.

Europe’s programme for entrenching the peace process through community development is due to run until 2020. The future of a programme designed to pump €17 million into groups which help victims of the conflict had been in doubt, it has been claimed.

However, Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “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.

“That’s why I am confirming that structural and investment funds projects signed before the autumn statement and Horizon research funding granted before we leave the EU will be guaranteed by the treasury after we leave.

Responding to Mr Hammond’s announcement, Finance minister Mairtin  Ó Muilleoir said it did not go far enough.

Prior to the referendum, the European Union had agreed to contribute over €1.2 billion to Structural and Investment Fund programmes in the north scheduled to run between 2014 and 2020. This includes contributions to the cross border PEACE IV and INTERREG VA Programmes. The decision today not to underwrite that sum in relation to EU funds from now to 2020 is a setback to the economy and a failure by the British government to match European support for the peace process.
“Despite the promise of the British Prime Minister to act in the interests of all, there has been no attempt to consult with myself, the Executive or the Irish Government, about the best way forward in relation to European funds.
“While the decision to honour letters of offer issued up to November will help some applicants for EU funds, it will leave a question mark over scores of other vital projects and means potentially up to £300m of future funding is in peril.

More detail from Mairtin in Alan’s very informative post on NICVA’s Big Festival of Economics   

I’m not clear whether Peace funding is regarded as “structural” from the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF), and is included in this assurance, so separate statements on Peace IV may be needed. Perhaps a well-informed reader knows?

Since 1995 there have been three PEACE programmes, with a financial contribution of EUR 1.3 billion. While PEACE I (1995-1999) and PEACE II (2000-2006) received funding from all the Structural Funds, PEACE III (2007-2013) was funded solely by the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF).

The PEACE IV programme has a total value of EUR 270 million. The ERDF contribution to the Programme is approximately EUR 229 million (85%), and EUR 41 million (15%) will come from match-funding (i.e. non-EU sources which may include national, regional and local government funding).

UK public spending in Northern Ireland is around £20 billion a year and  of course dwarfs the useful EU contributions.

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  • T.E.Lawrence

    MoM “There has been no attempt to consult with MYSELF” ! As they say in the “Back Streets of Belfast” where I am from “Power can go to your Head and make you blind to them surroundings ? “

  • Nevin
  • Teddybear

    What does ‘peace funding’ actually mean? Funding ‘community workers’ ( and what do these people actually do? I live in a community and I’ve never had the need to use a community worker) or is peace funding the bribing of gunmen to keep their guns under the bed?

  • chrisjones2

    Why should anyone pay any attention to him,

    Yesterday he didnt seem to even know that the Guarantee was about to be given. Shocking

  • chrisjones2

    What we used to call bribes I think

  • Old Mortality

    Perhaps that’s why he’s so exercised about it – losing a handy source of party patronage.

  • 05OCT68

    Can anyone here explain why farming gets EU subsidies, what is special about farming? I’m only asking. I’ll put the case of a different industry. When DELL decided to locate It’s Limerick operations to Poland the Irish government was prevented by the EU from to subsiding the plant. The EU gave the Polish government 50 million euro to relocate the plant to an area of economic hardship. 50 million euro was what it cost DELL to lay off the Irish employees? The money now replacing EU funding should be spent on economic regeneration. Give people jobs, sort out our infrastructure but not community activists please.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well 2 things for a start He’s got a mandate, he’s got a ministry … That may not be much but it’s more than you or I have got.

    And like it or not he has a newspaper so the message gets out anyway, 3 things.

  • Sherdy

    I think Perfidious Albion is quite apposite!

  • AntrimGael

    As a Nationalist I believe the current standard of BOTH Sinn Fein and SDLP political representatives are very, very poor. The SDLP are completely irrelevant and seem happy enough to plod along content and relieved they are not totally extinct while the Shinners are the Prince Phillip to Queen Arlene, always two steps behind and knowing their place; invertebrate, weak, compliant and subserviant.

  • Jollyraj

    I’d say it’s because farming practices directly impact our food supply and the environment – two things which must necessarily be carefully guarded as essentials of life.

    DELL computers do not really belong in that category.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But, Jollyraj, we should ensure that the many abuses of farm payments are recognised and dealt with. All too many of my neighbours here in Antrim are in full time employment, but own a little land on the side, and claim farm payments. They have been compelled to stop renting it out conacre in recent years and now need to neglect a few sheep on their land to qualify, but the scams goe on and siphon off funds that genuine farmers could actually use to ensure food security for us all.

  • SDLP supporter

    “Se an t-iomanai is fearr na an t-iomanai ar an claim”/”The best hurler is the hurler on the ditch”. Unless you take part in the game yourself, Antrim Gael, think before criticising others.

  • Jollyraj

    Sure, if there are those abusing the system I’m all for that being clamped down on. All in all, I think agriculture needs to be subsidized and should be subsidized, however. Incidentally, the conavre thing isn’t an abuse (not clear whether you were saying it is – may have misread you) – it does keep land in agricultural productive use, which is the point.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, sure con acre keeps land in use by real farmers, but I was referring to the manner in which those non farmers hungry for farm payments would rent out to another, but claim tens subsidy themselves even though they were “carpet slipper farmers” in practice. And I agree that in our present conditions those who are trying to farm often need subsidies, but not those in full time employment who used to claim while never from one year to the next actually getting any closer to the land than their city homes thirty miles away.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You’re surely not suggesting that nationalist representatives are worse than their unionist counterparts? I think it’s worth noting that the recent joint letter from the FM & DFM to the Prime Minister reflected much more Sinn Fein’s pro EU position than the DUP’s Brexit position. So much so that “Queen Arlene” was accused of having undergone a significant U-turn. Given that Brexit is just about the most important issue which the Executive may ever have to deal with, this suggests that your claim that SF is weak and subservient to Arlene Foster is not supported by the evidence.

  • Kevin Breslin

    UK public spending in Northern Ireland is around £20 billion a year and of course dwarfs the useful EU contributions.

    And that figure includes that Northern Ireland gets back £10 billion of its own contribution, and faces new customs charges in its economy and the possibility of the fiscal deficit reduced by increased politically motivated spending in England, particularly in terms of the new departments and costs. Some of that money is in the hands of the NIO as well.

    There is spending from the UK here I would consider useless, likewise from Stormont. We live in a region where the costs for UK administration are just as much sent over a sea as is the case for the EU.

    Next election time NI may lose an MP, lose democratic networks with Europe and be even greater ignored by Great Britain, which will push for more EVEL. With £10 billion or not, lower corporation tax or not, looking to the Republic of Ireland as a means to get attention on the global stage not in London may be the rule not the exception now.

  • lizmcneill

    Maybe this is one of those questions where you don’t really want to know the answer….

  • AntrimGael

    Not worse. I believe Unionist ideology is mainly driven by anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism as the recent proliferation of photos of Unionist politicians revelling at Twelfth bonfires shows; it’s what they do best. Some of the Sinn Fein politicians are just dreadful and that party only has the interests of a small Republican elite at heart and not the wider Nationalist community. The DUP has run rings around them in negotiations and up at Stormont. At times McGuinness is just embarrassing in his fawning over Unionism and the British monarchy while the SDLP are just embarrassing, a total irrelevant nonentity of a party.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Did you decide to ignore the recent important example I provided because it didn’t support your view? Is it worth me providing more examples or have you already decided to ignore anything which conflicts with your point of view?