Introduction

This new EU Transition Fund is part of Welsh Government’s Brexit plans to directly help businesses, public sector bodies and the third sector prepare for the significant changes ahead.

We plan to work with businesses, public services and others to develop the fund and create tailored support for them and to develop the detail.

We will work with partners to develop the detail of how the money can best be spent in the strategic national interest of Wales. It will need to be flexible to respond to the emerging detail as Brexit negotiations continue over the coming months.

We will be looking at innovative ways we can support organisations through Brexit, looking at what financial support, guidance and advice we can provide and develop to help them deal with the change. The fund will work alongside the existing financial support and guidance we already provide.

We are providing an initial £50 million and this is part of our overall Brexit plans, from looking at the legislative implications, developing new policy proposals for a UK/Wales outside the EU and supporting our businesses to develop export across the world. For businesses the fund will provide a combination of financial support and loan funding, and will support the provision of technical, commercial, export-related advice.

One of the biggest concerns organisations tell us is the need to keep staff post Brexit and that is why the EU Transition Fund will support employers to help them retain and continue to attract EU nationals, who make a crucial contribution to our communities, hospitals and other public services, universities and businesses.

Since the vote to leave we have been clear that we welcome and value nationals from other countries who have made Wales their home, and we want them to stay. This fund will support our position and the need to attract key staff where needed.

Budget

The £50 million EU Transition Fund is supported by an initial £10 million down payment in the 2018-19 final budget. It builds on £5 million allocated for Brexit preparedness over 2018-19 and 2019-20, as part of the 2-year Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Any fund issues will be the responsibility of Welsh Ministers. We look to UK government to make good on the matters that are its responsibility in due course, such as any changes to customs arrangements. We also expect UK government to allocate consequentials to the Welsh Government and other devolved administrations where it commits spending in England on devolved matters as a result of Brexit.

We will also continue to press UK government to meet its previous commitments to ensure that Wales is no worse off after Brexit where EU funding was previously available in areas such as regional development.

Questions to prompt discussion

1. Are the core principles suggested in this paper, (EAG (18) 03) appropriate to guide the development of the EU Transition Fund?

  • Do you agree with the principles described?
  • Are any areas more important than others?
  • Are there any missing?

2. What arrangements could be put in place to develop, deliver and monitor the EU Transition Fund?

  • How can partners, including local government, regional partnerships, the private sector, and communities be involved both in development and delivery of the fund?
  • How can different spatial, thematic and sectoral interests be balanced?
  • What role, if any, does EAG envisage for itself in the process?