The British government says it will keep paying for European Union-funded agriculture, infrastructure and science projects until 2020, even if Britain leaves the bloc before then.

Treasury chief Philip Hammond wants to allay worry among farmers and scientists about what will replace the millions they currently get from the EU. Some scientists say the uncertainty is already hitting their ability to begin multi-year research projects.

Hammond said Saturday that organizations "want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive." He said the funding guarantee would cost taxpayers about 4.5 billion pounds ($5.8 billion) a year.

Britain voted in June to leave the 28-nation EU, but an exit likely remains several years away. The Conservative government says it will not trigger the formal two-year exit negotiations process before next year.