Assembly Written Question 12207/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy what plans have been made to ensure that Invest NI does not have its budget negatively impacted by the loss of European Structural and Investment funding.
Answer: EU funding will continue to support Invest NI programmes until December 2023. However, Invest NI has identified a budget gap from 2021/22 to support new business for Innovation and R&D projects as the EU funding supporting this activity has been fully utilised. My department submitted bids in January monitoring to provide certainty of funding for Invest NI budgets in 2021/22 and to allow time to negotiate a more sustainable future settlement. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) is being developed by the UK Government to replace EU Structural & Investment funds. Full replacement spending power, with local control over spending, is essential to ensuring that the SPF meets longer term local needs, including those of Invest NI. Details of the SPF to date are limited and the timescales are of concern. I am liaising closely with the Minister of Finance, Economy Committee and Executive colleagues to ensure that any budget gap between EU Structural Funds and the SPF is closed and I will continue to work to ensure that we receive full replacement funding to meet Northern Ireland’s priorities and to support our economic recovery.