The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has responded to the measures set out in George Osborne’s annual budget, which he delivered in Parliament yesterday. Herman Kok, board member for the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, made the following comments on how the budget will affect the local area.
“Today’s budget has talked about building a resilient economy, which is something we support and are working towards across Greater Lincolnshire.
“It has revealed no real surprises, and is a budget focussed very much on encouraging business growth, in turn helping to boost both the national and local economies.
“We welcome the extra cash support for flood defences, roads and housing, and we are pleased to see that the Budget is offering opportunities for businesses to make investments, increase export activity and develop more British-made products.
“The Chancellor talked about backing all regions of our country in developing a strong manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is a key priority for us, so we welcome the news that manufacturing firms – which contribute £1.8 billion a year to the local economy when combined with engineering – will get a £7 billion package to cut their energy bills.
“With the Ports of Grimsby and Immingham playing a key role in importing and exporting there will be a huge opportunity for business growth as firms embrace the doubling of finance available to exporters to £3 billion. We hope that this funding will flow through the North East Lincolnshire docks, bringing more money to our local economy. We also welcome the extension of business rates retention and capital allowances at Enterprise Zones – benefit enterprise on the South Bank of the Humber.
“It is exciting news that the Government has pledged to support the Magna Carta Trust by providing a grant to help with the 800-year anniversary of the signing. This is of huge importance to Greater Lincolnshire, as Lincoln is home to one of only four remaining copies in the world and there are plans already in place to maximise that anniversary with the Lincoln Castle Revealed project.
“We would like to hear more about the value of the grant, and what it can be used for. At the same time, we are pleased to hear there will be additional funding for cathedrals across England, and we our hope the team at Lincoln cathedral are able to draw down some of this funding.
“There was also good news for those in the construction sector. In Greater Lincolnshire, we are expecting around 100,000 new homes to be built over the next ten years to plug a housing gap. We are sure that the half a billion pounds of finance pledged to help small building firms will go a long way to helping meet that demand.
“Businesses and residents which fell victim to the recent flooding will also welcome the news that there will be £140m available for immediate repairs and maintenance to damaged flood defences. We would like, however, to have more information on exactly how that funding will be allocated, and how readily it can be accessed. Local authorities will also have the opportunity to bid for funding to repair potholes, helping to maintain our road infrastructure.
“There are lots of new measures to digest. We hope that our business community will feel a direct benefit from some of the positive measures announced today and work with us if they are in need of support.”