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Our £12 million package of support we kept for that rainy day that is now upon us

Column by Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

Last week at the county council, we launched a new funding scheme to support Lincolnshire’s small businesses that hadn’t had any government funding to date.

We received applications to our Business Recovery Fund for more than £3million in just two days. We’re now processing over 400 applications before we can allocate funding of up to £10,000 to businesses who have suffered losses because they couldn’t fully operate in the last year.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (40485327)
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (40485327)

We had set a 30 per cent loss threshold, so we knew we were getting funding to those who needed it most, but we had many businesses who didn’t quite meet this criteria, so recently the scheme has been re-opened without this threshold to allow more small businesses the chance to apply.

This second round closes tomorrow (Saturday).

I know it has been very difficult for many small businesses during this pandemic, especially if they haven’t been able to access any of the government funding packages, so we have chosen to offer this support to help them survive.

In the next few weeks we are also launching three further funding schemes that very much look to the future - providing grants to help businesses improve their digital offer, expand and grow, and a specific grant for businesses and organisations in rural areas.

For details of all the grants, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/grants-funding

We have been able to offer this £12m package of support to Lincolnshire’s economy by using some of our reserves – money in the bank we’ve kept for the rainy day that is now upon us.

This has only been possible because of our careful financial management over the years, which has also meant we have been able to make up the shortfall in our highways funding this year.

We have allocated £12.3m to keep up our road maintenance programme, after our recent disappointing highways settlement from the government.

The need for continued investment in Lincolnshire’s roads is something we will discuss with our local MPs and government ministers.

The government’s roadmap to come out of lockdown begins this week, with the welcome return of children to our Lincolnshire classrooms. Being in class with their teachers is undoubtedly the best place for pupils to learn and being with their friends is also important for their social development and mental health.

It is important that we approach the coming months one step at a time – we don’t want to see any further lockdowns or restrictions imposed on us again.

The guidelines laid out by the Prime Minister will hopefully allow for a staged and steady return to our normal activities.

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