Revealed: Philip Hammond’s secret Project Kingfisher bailout fund to kick-start the economy if Brexit talks with Brussels fail
- Plans seen by MoS disclose establishment of short-term fiscal stimulus package
- Designed to prop up UK manufacturing and industry sectors if No Deal happens
- But Project Kingfisher also looking at possibility of making significant increases to regional development funding and fresh ‘sector deals’ to boost economy
Chancellor Philip Hammond has set up a secret bailout fund in an operation codenamed Project Kingfisher – so the British economy can be jump-started if talks with Brussels collapse, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Plans seen by this newspaper disclose the establishment of a short-term fiscal stimulus package designed to prop up the UK’s manufacturing and industrial sectors in the event of a No Deal departure from the EU and the disruption that would follow.
Ministers have been ordered to draw up top-secret lists of specific firms and sectors they believe will most need the cash and submit them on paper to the Treasury to avoid embarrassing leaks.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has set up a secret bailout fund in an operation codenamed Project Kingfisher
Last night, Treasury sources confirmed the unlimited Project Kingfisher funding was separate from money previously earmarked for Britain’s No Deal planning.
However, The Mail on Sunday has learnt that officials working on Project Kingfisher are also looking at the possibility of making significant increases to regional development funding and fresh ‘sector deals’ to boost the economy – even if Theresa May gets her Brexit divorce terms through the House of Commons.
Earlier this month, Downing Street sparked controversy after hinting more funds would be made available to the constituencies of Labour MPs who defied Jeremy Corbyn to support the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
Treasury insiders are also studying plans to reallocate money in the forthcoming Spending Review for this purpose.
However, in the shorter term, Downing Street has ordered all Cabinet Ministers as well as the UK’s devolved executives to ‘engage with the Project Kingfisher process and structures as soon as they have concerns [about] economic disruption to specific firms or sectors’.
Plans leaked to The Mail on Sunday reveal that No 10 is most worried about the impact on the UK’s ‘distant communities and those reliant on single employers’.
Particular emphasis has been placed on Wales, with Treasury Ministers ordered to oversee planning by the Welsh Government for ‘sector- specific plans to support the local economy in the case of economic disruption caused by a No Deal scenario’.
Plans, drawn up by Hammond and seen by the MoS, disclose the establishment of a short-term fiscal stimulus package designed to prop up the UK’s manufacturing and industrial sectors in the event of a No Deal
The Treasury has also set up a ‘regular cross-Whitehall contact group’ to oversee the project.
And Ministers have been asked to second officials from ‘across the Civil Service’ to help ‘uplift’ a new central crack team called the Economic Taskforce.
In addition to all this, Project After is looking at longer-term solutions to a No Deal Brexit, and Operation Yellowhammer is looking at worst-case scenario disaster planning.
Special Treasury projects are often named after birds, with the names said to be generated by a Whitehall computer.