MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, Caroline Johnson hopes to see many local farms, businesses and communities applying for a share of £200million made available to support business and broadband projects.
The Rural Development Programme grant scheme announced at the weekend is expected to generate more than 6,000 new jobs and support businesses wanting to expand and improve their premises in rural communities such as Lincolnshire.
Dr Johnson was delighted that the funding has been made available, saying: “I hope to see many of our local farms, businesses and communities applying for grants. This is a welcome boost to our rural economy and shows that the Government recognises the value of rural businesses and infrastructure.”
For the first time under the current scheme specific funding will be available to support new rural broadband projects, and provide significant amounts of funding to on-farm businesses to invest in new infrastructure such as new buildings and machinery. The current Rural Development Programme for England is expected to generate 6,750 new jobs.
The grants will also fund landowners to improve farm productivity, and invest in rural tourism opportunities.
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “One in three businesses in this country are based in the countryside, and this government is committed to providing the support they need to create a strong and prosperous rural economy.
“This funding will make sure businesses in remote locations can get online, help farmers install cutting-edge technology, create new tourist hotspots and bring high quality jobs to rural communities across the country.”
This round of funding will include:
£30m to improve rural broadband to speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned.
£45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment – rural businesses, including those engaged in tourism and food production, can apply for funding to invest in their company, helping them to expand, diversify, and invest in new technology.
£120m for projects that improve farm productivity – this money will help farmers, foresters and landowners manage their land more effectively. Funding will be available for a wide range of purposes, including woodland management equipment, creating on-farm reservoirs and using water more efficiently.
A further £6.6m will be available for animal health and welfare projects.