October 27, 2021 5.23 pm

Lincolnshire gets £30m for A16 works and Gainsborough cinema

Levelling up funding for two county projects

Lincolnshire looks set to receive nearly £30million in levelling up funding from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Autumn budget, with a focus on improvements to the A16 and a new cinema in Gainsborough.

The East Midlands will receive a total of £203 million for 10 projects across the region. including £19.6 million for improvements to the A16 corridor between Spalding and Boston in Lincolnshire and a £10.3 for a new four-screen cinema in Gainsborough town centre.

The Gainsborough plans involve redeveloping the old Lindsey Centre site, including a four-screen Savoy cinema, three commercial units and a car park.

Conservative County Council leaders have welcomed the budget which they said will “provide the foundations for a stronger economy” in the county going forward.

In particular they praised the infrastructure investments and levelling up funding, post-16 skills training and education and business rate discounts.

Council leader Martin Hill, also indicated the latest moves by government “underlines how important it is for the county to get its own devolution deal.”

However, they said more needs to be done and have warned that they still face an annual funding shortfall of around £25-30 million which can only be met by increasing council tax, drawing on reserves or finding further savings. Adult social care funding also remains low.

Here are some of the statements from county leaders in reaction to today’s budget.

Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

“It certainly looks like the country is in a far stronger economic position than expected at this time last year, which is great news.

“We welcome the £4.8bn of extra funding has been announced for local government and we look forward to receiving further information on that.

“It is likely that we will continue to face significant financial challenges, although we won’t receive the details of next year’s settlement until towards the end of the year.

“Local government has been at the forefront of government spending cuts for the last 10 years and our initial estimates suggest we face an annual funding shortfall of around £25-30m over the next few years. The only way to close that gap will be to increase council tax, draw on our reserves or find further savings – or more likely a combination of all three.

“A major issue for us is the growing demand for adult care and the additional costs this brings. The government has announced reforms, but any extra funding won’t come through for two or three years. We need action now, and we need to see a long-term plan for making adult care sustainable in a fair way. Council tax increases are not the way to do this, as some parts of the country will find it much easier to generate income in this manner.

“We’re look forward to learning more about the planned investment in infrastructure and funding for roads maintenance in non-city areas. We were disappointed to see our highways funding cut by £12m last year, as we know filling potholes is a top priority for our residents. Although we made up the shortfall ourselves last year, this isn’t something we can afford to keep doing. So we will be pushing the government to reinstate this funding and give Lincolnshire a fair share of any new money.

“It was good to see that our bid for Levelling-Up funding for road improvements around Boston and Spalding appears to have been successful. This package of improvements will not only help the food sector transport goods more easily, but should also mean less congestion for motorists in the area. And I’d like to congratulate WLDC on their successful bid for £10,274,858 million of Levelling-Up funds for Gainsborough.

“Significant funding has been given to the regional mayors to invest in transport infrastructure, which underlines how important it is for the county to get its own devolution deal. So we’ll continue to explore the opportunities with partners across the public sector to find a devolution arrangement that is right for Lincolnshire.

“Local councils have played a huge role in supporting our communities during the pandemic, highlighting the vital role they play. The extra funding for local government suggests this has been recognised and we hope that moving forward we are given the money we need to provide the services our residents rely on.”

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy at LCC

Councillor Colin Davie, executive councillor for economy and place at Lincolnshire County Council. | Picture: Daniel Jaines

“There’s a lot of positive news for the local economy in today’s Autumn Budget.

“We particularly welcome the additional funding for post-16 skills training. Not only will this provide local young people with the opportunity to go for better jobs, it will also help ensure local employers can find the skilled staff they need.

“The investment in further education was also good news. Colleges provide vocational skills that are critical to our local economies and are often major employers in the towns where they are located.  Let’s hope that the budget is the start of a sustained investment in this sector.

“The grant programme to attract international businesses to the UK is also a positive step. We expect this to help further our ambitions for the Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone, which was recently highlighted by government as an opportunity for attracting investment to the UK.

“We are pleased to see the government emphasise its commitment to tackling climate change with investment in the new green industries of the future and incentives to encourage businesses to invest in green technology. This is an important issue for us, as highlighted at the recent Lincolnshire Climate Summit.

“The 50% business rate discount for retail and hospitality, and the draught relief tax support for pubs too, will be greatly welcome and necessary for that sector. However, it is important that local councils aren’t left to foot the bill for these measures.

“Finally, I’m sure local businesses will welcome the cancellation of the planned rise in fuel duty – as will many residents who rely on their cars for getting around our rural county.”

Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness

Boston and Skegness MP, Matt Warman. Picture: Daniel Jaines.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, this Conservative  Government is getting on with the job and delivering on the priorities of the British people. 

“This Budget will make a real difference to people in Boston & Skegness, helping working  families with the cost of living, supporting businesses with their recovery, and investing in our  public services so that everyone gets the world-class hospitals, schools, and police services  they deserve.  

“I was elected on a promise to level up and improve opportunity for people in Boston &  Skegness – and today’s Budget shows how this Government is delivering on that promise as  we build back better.” 

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