The House of Lords EU Committee has today written to David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to ask for assurances that the Government will cover funding gaps faced by the UK's Overseas Territories if they no longer have access to European Development Fund (EDF) funding after Brexit.
The Committee have taken evidence on the impact of Brexit on the Overseas Territories from Premiers, Chief Ministers and other representatives of Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Falkland Islands, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands, Tristan da Cunha and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It found that Brexit will impact the islands in diverse and challenging ways.
- The Committee stress that the Overseas Territories in the Caribbean including Anguilla – where EDF funding accounts for 36% of the total capital budget – the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, will now face a particularly acute need to access significant reconstruction funds following the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Irma.
- Many Overseas Territories do not qualify for UK overseas aid and the Committee ask whether the Government would consider continued EDF funding for the Overseas Territories even if it meant continued UK contributions to the EU budget.
- The Committee calls on the UK Government to ensure their EU bound exports from Overseas Territories will not be subject to tariffs or other trade barriers due to Brexit.
- Many Overseas Territories rely on cooperation with their nearest neighbours to provide health services and access to transport links. Many of those neighbours are territories of other EU Member States. The Committee asks the Government to explain the steps it is taking to ensure that cooperation can be maintained after Brexit.