Rural firms in line for seven-figure windfall

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A seven-figure sum may be set to benefit small rural businesses across the North and South Kesteven districts.

The windfall, described as being between £1.7m and £1.9m, has been earmarked for the area through the LEADER programme, a scheme delivering rural development funding from the European Union and Defra.

Across the county, a sum of £8m is expected.

This will fund projects that support micro and small businesses, increasing farm productivity, farm diversification, tourism and more.

Following consultation, a ‘Local Action Group’ (LAG) - known as the Kestevens LAG - has developed a strategy setting out how its share of the funding would be used.

LEADER is still working towards a final agreement with the European Commission, but it is hoped contracts will be signed next spring.

Coun Colin Davie, executive member for economic development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Lincolnshire is a predominantly rural county, and programmes like this are vital for supporting our small businesses.”

He added: “Under the new programme 70 per cent of all projects must directly support jobs and growth. In addition, the remaining 30 per cent will also need to demonstrate their contribution to improving the rural economy. And that’s very welcome news for all of Greater Lincolnshire.”