Deprivation funds could aid business

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DEPRIVATION levels in East Lindsey have made the district eligible for European funding, which the Mayor of Skegness hopes can be used to support new businesses.

The East Midlands European Competitiveness Programme has allocated £3.9 million to the 12 most deprived districts in the region, which East Lindsey recently qualified for.

The Mayor of Skegness Coun Steve Kirk has expressed his hopes that the money may be able to support Skegness Town Council and the wider community in achieving some of its most urgent goals for economic regeneration.

“What the town council has been doing with its publicity roadshow has been trying to build on our current strengths.

“I also think we need to be looking at other business sectors - not just tourism.

“What I would like to see, is for East Lindsey District Council to offer new businesses a starter three month tenancy at a reduced rate with business advice included.

“After the three months with the support and mentoring they would hopefully be able to take on the tenancy and we will have established a new business in the town.”

The allocation is for the entire district, not just one particular town, and funding from other sources must contribute at least 32 per cent of the overall costs.

The funding must also be used in line with the objectives of the programme, however as these include building sustainable economic growth and expanding market opportunities, Coun Kirk believes his aspirations are appropriate uses of the funding.

Coun Kirk has witnessed the positive effect the funding has brought to the neighbouring district of Boston.

When the first stage of funding was allocated in 2007 Boston was the 11th most deprived district in the East Midlands, however it is now only 19th - an achievement Coun Kirk thinks to be at least partially attributable to the benefits of the funding.

Funding in Boston was used to offer businesses workshops very much in line with the advice he would like to see offered in Skegness.

ELDC economic development manager Jonathan Burgess said: “With partners we will be actively looking at what programmes can be put forward for funding, however it may not be possible to support local priorities such as public realm enhancements, retail or tourism.”