Doubt as Lincolnshire faces losing £130 million in EU funding

The Greater Lincolnshire region could be set to lose out on £130 million from the European Union following the UK’s decision to leave the organisation, with politicians and business leaders unable to offer any guarantees on the proposed funding for the county.

As reported earlier this month, a Lincolnshire County Council report revealed that Greater Lincolnshire had 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 but the UK’s momentous decision to vote to withdraw from the EU has cast doubt over any incomplete bids.

The same report also showed that the authority also missed its target for the amount of external funding attracted to the county by around £12 million.

The annual target of £54.8 million was 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
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development for Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development for Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development and a prominent Vote Leave campaigner in Lincolnshire, could not confirm whether the money would be secured.

However, he did say that “other funding” for business support would be provided.

He said:

At this stage, it’s too early to say how the referendum result will affect our involvement in EU funding programmes.

“This will only be known once the government has negotiated the terms of our exit.

“However, even if we are not eligible for these programmes in future, the Leave campaign did say that funding for business support would continue to be provided.

“In addition, we will work with UK Trade & Investment to establish direct relationships with other parts of the globe, similar to our recently signed deal with Hunan in China.

“We believe that Lincolnshire has a bright future ahead of it and that with planning and effort we can be part of a renaissance for the UK on the global stage.”

“Uncertain future”

City of Lincoln Council Leader, Councillor Ric Metcalfe

City of Lincoln Council Leader, Councillor Ric Metcalfe

City of Lincoln Council leader Ric Metcalfe said: “EU funding is in play already in Greater Lincolnshire and that will continue to be in place until we actually withdraw. There is significant evidence to suggest it’s going to take quite a long time to withdraw.

There is all this uncertainty of course about what replacement there will be for what currently comes through the EU in areas of need that we have in the county.

“It’s an uncertain future there’s no doubt about that.”

“Seeking clarification”

Ruth Carver from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Justin Brown, Commissioner for economic growth at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ruth Carver from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ruth Carver, Director of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “It is early days following the EU referendum vote, and we are seeking clarification on EU funds.

“Until then, we are operating as business as usual.

“As ever the LEP continues to lobby for funding to support economic growth in Greater Lincolnshire.”