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Kent County Council bid for £36m government hardship fund amid Covid

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Kent County Council (KCC) has submitted a bid for a £36million government fund to help communities in financial hardship in at least four districts across the county.

The UK Community Renewal Fund, announced by the Chancellor in the Budget in early March, aims to help local communities most in need within the country.

Canterbury, Gravesham, Swale and Thanet have been identified as places to receive a cash boost
Canterbury, Gravesham, Swale and Thanet have been identified as places to receive a cash boost

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government seeks proposals from councils in England to invest in new jobs, skills and businesses from a large £220m pot. Schemes must also contribute towards its net-zero carbon aims by 2050.

The Local Government Ministry has included four Kent districts of Canterbury, Gravesham, Swale and Thanet in 100 priority places to receive a cash boost of millions of pounds to help areas recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

KCC leader Roger Gough (Con) has proposed to submit funding applications for the remaining eight districts ahead of a key decision expected next month.

In a report published the county council's website two days ago, he says: "This investment, if awarded, will help KCC to address economic and environmental challenges."

He has recommended that Maidstone County Hall invite applications, shortlist bids and submit them to the government for consideration.

KCC leader Roger Gough
KCC leader Roger Gough

Applicants being encouraged include universities, voluntary and community sector organisations and business groups, along with cross-border projects.

A maximum of £36million can be secured by KCC, with £3million to be in place per district if any funding agreement is made with Whitehall.

County councillors will be given a say in a future committee meeting, with responses from Canterbury, Gravesham, Swale and Thanet prioritised.

A final decision will need to be made by June 18 when the government will assess the proposals and select projects likely to receive funding from 2022.

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