Friday focus: How will businesses replace EU funding after Brexit?

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Lincolnshire will lose at least £80 million of European funding after the UK’s departure from the EU, just from dropped county council bids. So how can businesses make sure their share is met with new deals and funding opportunities?

Lincolnshire County Council had applied for £130 million from the current EU funding programme prior to the referendum, which runs from 2014 to 2020, but just £50 million of that is now secure.

Organisations across the county, including the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have been working on ways to secure additional funding to make sure that businesses won’t go without when the time comes.

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

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “For the six years up to 2020, Lincolnshire was provisionally allocated around £130 million of EU funding, and around £50 million of that is now guaranteed.

“With the national negotiations ongoing, there’s still some uncertainty about the remaining funding, but we’re likely to continue receiving money as long as the UK is paying in.”

The government has guaranteed EU funding for Structural and Investment Funds projects signed after the Autumn Statement, which will continue after we have left the EU.

Ruth Carver Director of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP

Ruth Carver, Director of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP told Lincolnshire Business: “New calls for activity have recently been opened for businesses and organisations to bid for EU funds, but this is the last chance for Greater Lincolnshire to access EU grants under the current system.

“Considerable work is now being done by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to influence government thinking on a replacement for the EU’s economic development funding programme.

“Future funding for local growth should not be about simply replacing the EU funding programmes, but about looking strategically at what should follow in relation to all local growth funding available in an area.”

Negotiations are still ongoing, but business support organisations hope that the money saved by not paying into the EU will then be able to be reallocated for priorities closer to home.

Ruth added: “The government will have extra millions to spend, and our priority is making sure Greater Lincolnshire gets its fair share to invest in our local economy, in our infrastructure, in our skills and in our businesses.”

Councillor Colin Davie added: “We’ve been tirelessly making the case that Lincolnshire is a good place to invest and produces a great return on that investment.

“We’re also working hard to establish strong economic ties with countries like China and the USA, bringing new opportunities for our businesses.

“So I’m optimistic. Lincolnshire has some world-class businesses, and, with the right support and freedom from EU bureaucracy, they can ensure our county thrives in the decades ahead.”