Some Lords want to see a plan for East Anglia funding after Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May sits behind the Speaker (back row) as Baroness Smith of Basildon speaks i

Prime Minister Theresa May sits behind the Speaker (back row) as Baroness Smith of Basildon speaks in the House of Lords, London, during a debate on the Brexit Bill. PA Wire - Credit: PA

Liberal Democrat peers will attempt to force the government to set out its strategy on local funding and economic growth post-Brexit.

An amendment to the bill to allow the prime minister to trigger Article 50 and to start Brexit talks has been tabled as new research suggests the East of England has received more than £365m in EU grants and £1.54bn of finance from Brussels since 2007.

The East of England region is also expected to receive about £330m of funding by the end of the current funding round in 2020.

While ministers have said they will underwrite EU-funded projects signed before the UK leaves the EU, the longer-term approach to regional funding is still not clear.

A vote on the House of Lords amendment is expected to be held on March 8.

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Former Suffolk councillor, the Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Scott of Needham Market said funding from the EU had been a lifeline for many rural communities, building infrastructure, training young people and creating jobs.

'It is vital this funding is fully replaced once we leave the EU, yet so far the Government has failed to clarify what its plans are.

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'Liberal Democrats will fight to hold this government to account and ensure Norfolk and Suffolk aren't short-changed after Brexit.'

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced last year that all structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK's departure from the EU.

The New Anglia local enterprise partnership last week published research which found the European Union had funnelled an average of £135.7m to Norfolk and Suffolk each year since 2007.

They have already started lobbying the government over post-Brexit regional funding and said the work by the East of England European Partnership was carried out to examine the potential consequences of any loss of European Union funding after Britain leaves the European Union.

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