What has Europe ever done for Lincolnshire?
It’s one of the most common questions I get from constituents. What has the EU done for me and my community?
And the answer is probably threefold.
Firstly, there is the extra prosperity gained by Britain being a member of the EU’s Single Market; £1,225 per year for each person on average, according to the recent CBI report.
Second, there are the benefits which EU laws have provided; for example, guaranteed rights at work, better consumer protection, action on climate change.
Of course, increased prosperity and greater rights apply to everyone, whether you live in Lincoln, London or Lisbon.
But EU benefits in the form of grants and funding – the third part of the answer – are more local.
EU funding is varied, complex, and ever-changing.
You may have seen in the Echo over the summer that Greater Lincolnshire is to get more than £110 million of European Union cash to help create jobs and boost economic growth.
The money will be used to provide training schemes, particularly for those who are unemployed, to fund business support and to finance projects such as building enterprise premises or infrastructure.
This level of investment is going to have a sizeable effect on the county’s economy, and is considerably more than Lincolnshire was awarded last time.
But what kinds of thing does the money get spent on?
The Innovation Advice and Guidance Programme, funded to
the tune of almost £1m, has been supporting Lincolnshire businesses – over 350 already – since 2010.
A further £920,000 of EU funding has helped protect the cultural identity of Lincoln through the creation of a new Heritage Skills Centre within the old walls of Lincoln Castle.
The list goes on; the GreenInvenT project in Skegness, a Boston school playing host to an international music project, the Tastes of Lincolnshire project to promote local food and drink, the Brayford waterfront, financial support for high speed broadband in the county, and much more over the years.
Just a sample of what the EU has done for Lincolnshire.