Brexit raises doubts over £130m EU funds for Greater Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire County Council has admitted that it does not know how a vote to leave the European Union on June 23 would affect applications for over £130 million in funds to encourage enterprise and growth in the region.

Greater Lincolnshire has applied for £130 million from the current EU funding programme which runs from 2014 to 2020.

Applications for funds are now in the process of being appraised.

This news comes following a report which revealed that Lincolnshire County Council missed its target for the amount of external funding attracted to the county.

The authority said that they have “made strong bids” which are progressing through the funding system but were not approved by the end of the 2015-16 financial year due to delays in processing applications.

By the end of the year, the authority had attracted £42,877,794, around £12 million short of its target of £54.8 million.

The annual target of £54.8 million is made up of the following:

  • European Union Growth Programme – £6 million
  • European Union Leader Programme – £6.5 million
  • Single Local Growth Fund – £27.5 million
  • Growth Deal II – £14.8 million

Examples of the funding approved for Lincolnshire in the last year include a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contract to support pre-start up businesses and a further £300,000 which was drawn down from the Growth Hub Fund.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) have included £2.1 million supporting people back into employment and a further £1.6 million to support soft skills and debt management.

Andy Gutherson, county commissioner for Economy and Place at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We’ve made strong bids for the available funding, but the government is taking longer to deal with applications than it anticipated.

“That means the money will now come through in this new financial year, with around £14.8 million expected during the first quarter.

“Between 2007 and 2013, the county has had around £22 million in EU funding. The current EU funding programme is expected to run from 2014-2020.

Applications for this are currently being appraised, with roughly £130 million allocated to Greater Lincolnshire.

“At this stage, there is no definitive answer on how Brexit would impact funding for business support programmes in Lincolnshire.”

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment, Strategic Planning and Tourism at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment, Strategic Planning and Tourism at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

However, Councillor Colin Davie, a leading Lincolnshire county councillor and Vote Leave campaigner, said: “The UK and Germany are the single biggest contributors to the EU budget.

“Countries such as Spain, Portugal, Poland and Greece receive huge positive payments from the EU.

I’m campaigning for the UK to leave the EU bloc because money that we pay in would be better spent funding our own priorities.

“Further to that, we must always be able not just to take our own decisions but to make our own laws.”


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