Northern Ireland will receive an extra £400 million (€438 million) to address the effects of Brexit on trade, the UK government has said.
The financial package aims to promote the region’s goods and services to export markets.
It will support businesses to operate after the Brexit transition period and ensure they are ready to “seize” trade and investment opportunities ahead, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “The new deal is wonderful news for Northern Ireland and underlines the UK government’s commitment to supporting and protecting the interests of the people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“Fostering economic growth and social cohesion is key to building a stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland and this additional £400 million will support Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period, enabling NI businesses and its people to innovate and invest.”
The extra cash will also be used to:
- Support the development of systems that will enable supermarkets and other small traders to manage the new trading arrangements and co-ordinate trade between Northern Ireland and Britain;
- Ensure resilience in medicine supply chains;
- Promote Northern Ireland’s potential as a leader in innovative technology and invest in skills in key growth areas such as cybersecurity, fintech and green/clean technology;
- Invest in social development across Northern Ireland, strengthening social cohesion and building stronger, safer communities – including by supporting initiatives to enable children from different community backgrounds to be educated together;
- Improve the flow of goods and travel to and from Britain and across Northern Ireland, boosting access to opportunities.
NI Secretary Brandon Lewis said the Protocol helped protect businesses. pic.twitter.com/u3sIArTp9Q
— michael mchugh (@mmchugh02) December 10, 2020
The package is in addition to money already allocated for a system to help firms with Britain-Northern Ireland customs declarations.
Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury Stephen Barclay said: “This significant funding further reinforces the strength of UK action to support Northern Ireland.
“It builds on £900 million (€987) allocated at the Spending Review through the Barnett formula, which can be used to grow the economy, improve public services and support people and business across Northern Ireland.
“Protecting jobs and livelihoods in Northern Ireland remains a priority for the UK government.”