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The UK Brexit Opportunity Fund has renamed an existing plan.

 


The 1.4 billion Brexit Opportunity Fund launched by Rishi Sunak last year is using money provided by an existing government scheme, the Financial Times said.

The current Prime Minister, Sunak, announced a new $1.4 billion Global Britain Investment Fund to support innovative economic activity in his Fall 2021 budget during his premiership.

In an effort to seize Brexit opportunities and move Global Britain forward, the budget document will provide grants to encourage companies moving internationally to invest in the UK’s important and most innovative industries, including life sciences and automotive. said it would.

However, the FT’s last spending review found that so far some grants have been allocated through existing programs, although new funds have been added in some cases. This allows for effective repositioning of investments under the global investment banner, as beneficiaries are often unaware that they are being supported by the fund.

In the government’s response to the FT’s freedom of information request, GBIF’s beneficiaries included six projects planned by companies such as sustainable technology manufacturer Johnson Matthey and automotive groups Britishvolt and Ford.

The two companies have injected funding from the Automotive Transformation Fund, a dedicated initiative established in 2020, and other existing funds. Offshore wind investment has been supported by the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support Scheme and the Regional Growth Fund.

In at least one case, money was committed to the company before GBIF launched in April.

Labor Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “This is yet another disappointment for businesses at a time when clear leadership and stability are sorely needed. This tedious Tory tactic of smoke and mirrors for real practical help continues to burden British businesses with endless confusion and chaos.

Existing funds differ from GBIF’s stated goals and objectives. The ATF is open to all companies registered in the UK for UK projects to help develop electrified supply chains. Offshore wind manufacturing schemes are open to manufacturers of offshore wind components in disadvantaged or impoverished areas of the UK.

FOI data shows that some of these funds have been disbursed, but with certain conditions attached, some have been committed but not disbursed.

In the case of Britishvolt, ministers have offered $100 million, but the money has not been paid as the battery startup has yet to achieve its commercial goals, including starting construction work on a site in Blyth, Northumberland.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said there was new money put into various funds now calculated under GBIF, but did not disclose the amount.

Britishvolt plant at Blyth Britishvolt

A BEIS spokesperson said the Brexit Opportunity Fund brings together existing multi-sectoral funds under one banner.

In the 2021 Spending Review, a significant amount of new funding was agreed upon for these existing funds. He said it was not the case that all of this scheme-specific funding was previously announced and later re-badged.

The Global Britain Investment Fund was established to promote private investment in industries where the UK has both natural strengths and geographical spread.

In last fall’s budget, the government said more than 800 million from GBIF would be used to support investments in the electrification of UK cars and supply chains, as well as to support investments in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, gigafactories and the electric vehicle supply chain.

An additional $354 million will be invested in life sciences manufacturing and $230 million in offshore wind, he said.

According to FOI data, the total value of grants provided so far totaled $180 million, or approximately 13% of the total value of the fund.

GBIF was set up to stimulate private investment in industries where the UK has both natural strengths and geographic spread, FOI data said.

FOI data also showed that there are no new offices to handle the treasury function and that BEIS currently employs approximately 29 full-time staff to manage the treasury.

Ford and Britishvolt declined to comment.

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