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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a £300 million funding pot for communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stepped up preparations for Brexit, announcing a £300 million funding pot for communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has welcomed the new funding but warned that the UK government’s priority must be to avoid a no-deal no-transition Brexit.
The business campaign group has also urged the UK government to work in partnership with the Scottish and Welsh governments to avoid developing competing initiatives and programmes and to redouble efforts to restore the Northern Ireland assembly and executive, so that the region with a land border with the EU is also actively represented as plans develop.
“Smaller firms in communities across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will welcome this new support for their local economies. This money must be spent with care and deliver tangible benefits to the businesses that are so vital to the success of these areas," said Andrew McRae FSB’s Scotland policy chair, Ben Francis FSB’s Wales policy chair, and Tina McKenzie FSB’s NI policy chair in a joint statement.
They warned that the larger threat to the prosperity of these local places is a no-deal no-transition Brexit on 31 October, "for which the great bulk of smaller firms simply aren’t prepared and, in some cases, cannot prepare".
“While businesses must do what they can to prepare for all scenarios, UK Ministers must stretch every sinew to avoid circumstances which would put pressure on so many operators," the FSB representatives said.
They urged the PM to make sure new schemes work in a devolved context, instead of duplicating the work of the devolved governments.
"For example, the replacement to EU structural funds – the so-called Shared Prosperity Fund – should be directed from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast for spending in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively."
Over the weekend, PM Johnson set up a new structure of government committees to ensure Brexit on or before 31 October.
In his first Commons statement as PM, Mr Johnson announced he would throw himself into Brexit negotiations with energy. But despite stressing the importance of preparing for a no deal Brexit, Mr Johnson said that he would prefer to leave with an agreement, adding that he will work “flat out” to see it happen.
He added that Britain could be the most prosperous economy in Europe by 2050, a feat that would mean drawing far ahead of France and then overtaking Germany.