Boston, Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire County Council approves £12m stimulus for local economy

The use of £12m of council reserves has been approved by Lincolnshire County Council to support local businesses, permitting them to apply directly to the local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

In particular, the council is targeted local businesses who were unable to benefit from government grants and schemes, as well as smaller businesses with 50 employees or fewer.

The grant scheme was announced as the county council met to discuss whether people in Lincolnshire should face a lower increase in council tax in the coming year after limiting it to just under 2%.

Government have recently introduced new permissions for councils to add in an additional 3% to the maximum increase limit to cover social care costs - bringing a total limit on council tax increases to 4.99% - but this option was opted against by Lincolnshire County Council.

Executive Member for Economic Development at the council, Cllr Colin Davie, said: “Our small, local businesses are the backbone of the county economy – there are around 43,000 in Lincolnshire, and it's vital we help those that have had no help to ensure they survive the financial impact of the pandemic.

"The focus will be on those businesses that have been unable to access the government's Covid-19 support schemes, such as those that are less than a year old or without premises or home-based.

"And there are likely to be separate pots of money for specific needs, such as a digital technology grant and a village shop grant. These will be launched on a staggered basis, with the general grant scheme opening first.

"Once everything is in place, we'll make sure businesses have time to collate the required information and documents before opening up the application process. After that, grants will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Cllr Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, added: "We know local businesses have had a particularly tough time during the pandemic, so we want to make additional support available.

"Thanks to our careful financial management over the years, we do have reserves to the tune of around £50m that we can draw on in times of emergency, and now is the right time to do that.

“We are not one of those councils in desperate straits.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s main grant scheme is set to come into effect at midday on February 23, 2021, with additional schemes to follow in early March.

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