August 20, 2019 12.22 pm This story is over 51 months old

Martin Hill: Looking forward with optimism

County council leader is upbeat about the future

It’s notable that within days of becoming our new prime minister, Boris Johnson came to Lincolnshire.

His visit to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital shows two things – a clear intention that he is looking to engage with communities around the country as well as a willingness to address important matters other than Brexit.

Boris’s early announcements definitely signal his intention to deal with major issues facing local government. 

In particular he has pledged to protect older people from having to sell their homes to pay for social care bills and has announced that he has an action plan to give them dignity and security.

The swift action he has taken in choosing pro-Brexit cabinet members also fills me with confidence that we are closer to achieving our exit from the EU.

So far our government has failed by not being robust enough in aiming for the best possible deal and being on the back-foot during the negotiations.

I feel that with Boris at the helm we will be much more forceful about our intention to leave.

His move to strengthen planning for a so-called “no deal Brexit” gives us a much stronger hand when negotiating with the EU.

Having said that, Brexit doesn’t mean turning our backs on our European friends and our close economic and other links. 

But it will mean doing things differently in terms of trade, security, farming, immigration, and many other aspects of national life. 

Above all, it’s about taking back control, which is what people intended when they voted leave in 2016.

We’re determined to have a say in what happens in Lincolnshire following Brexit and at the county council.

That’s why we’ve set up a cross-party Brexit Working Group to make sure that our interests are considered when we leave the EU.

Among the issues we have been examining are the replacement of EU funding including how we can claim our fair share of the money that is no longer being sent to Brussels – this could form part of our Fair Deal for Lincolnshire campaign, which argues for a level playing field for council funding nationally.

We are also examining what the changes in the EU workforce will mean for us and how businesses can adapt.

31 October 2019 is not far away – but the early signs from our new prime minister are positive and I feel that for the first time in many years we’re moving in the right direction. 

Councillor Martin Hill is the leader of Lincolnshire County Council.