£1m fund to help Romney Marsh unemployment blackspot
Concerns are growing for
the Romney Marsh area after the Dungeness plant is
A £1m jobs fund is on the cards for one of the county's
unemployment blackspots in a move that could provide vital start-up
funds for new businesses and help others to expand.
The so-called "Marsh Million" initiative for Romney Marsh in
east Kent could get the go-ahead this week.
Council chiefs believe the initiative could throw a lifeline to
the area and help kick-start the area's flagging economy.
The scheme is being drawn up by Kent County Council in
partnership with Magnox, the organisation that is responsible for
decommissioning nuclear plants.
It operates a national fund to support areas which have been
dependent on the nuclear industry and has indicated that it could
be willing to allocate £500,000.
Up until now, the bulk of the money has gone to other areas such
as Wales, Scotland and Cumbria.
Kent County Council has said it would be prepared to invest
£466,000 and with a contribution from Shepway council, £1m could be
A county council report on the scheme suggests money could be
used to help new businesses set up with small scale loans; help pay
for premises and develop apprenticeship and training
The initiative will come as a welcome fillip to the Marsh, where
concerns have been growing over its economic prospects when the
Dungeness plant is finally decommissioned.
The uncertainty over whether the planned expansion of Lydd
Airport (pictured right) will go ahead, coupled with the
recent decision to reject plans for a nuclear waste plant, have led
to questions about where new jobs will come from.
Cllr Mark Dance (Con), Kent County Council cabinet member for
regeneration, said: "This is money that we feel is being spent in
the right place.
"We can help with start-up costs for new businesses and help
those already there. There are a lot of micro businesses on the
marsh and we can help with seed funding."
The Magnox board is due to meet today to discuss whether to give
the go-ahead to the idea.
About one in five jobs in Romney Marsh are dependent on the
nuclear industry and currently an estimated 700 people are working
at the Dungeness A and Dungeness B plants.
Dungeness B is due to be decommissioned in 2018 but there has
been speculation that it may have its licence extended until
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