This week the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced over £3.5million in new funding to support the creation of the Romney Marsh Employment Hub. This will be a new business centre on the Marsh which will support the creation of 700 new jobs. It will be delivered by the government’s new ‘Getting Building Fund’ which is making £900million available for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next.
The fund is designed to enable local areas to invest in priority infrastructure projects, driving up local economic growth and jobs. The nuclear industry at Dungeness is one of the biggest employers in the area, but the current decommissioning of Dungeness A power station and the planned closure of Dungeness B in 2028 could lead to future jobs loses, when that work is completed. Of course, it’s also possible that Dungeness B could be granted a further extension to its operating license, and when it does eventually stop generating electricity, which might not be well into the 2030s, the station will go through its own lengthy decommissioning process. For the land at Dungeness A, I have also proposed that this could be used as a location for research and development into the new technology of small modular reactors (SMRs). These could be established on land that has already been decommissioned at Dungeness and sit within the existing nuclear site. Rolls Royce is leading the development of SMRs in the UK, looking to adapt the technology used to power nuclear submarines to create electricity for homes and businesses. I have recently written to the Energy Minister recommending the suitability of Dungeness for SMRs and suggesting that accelerating government investment into this technology could be another ‘shovel ready’ project for them to back.
On Monday the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also opened up the Cultural Recovery Fund for applications. This is part of the £1.57 billion that the government has made available to support arts and culture following the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions. Organisations can apply for grants from £10,000 to £3 million, before the deadline of 17th August. The government will aim to assess applications and make decisions by the end of September, for applications up to £1 million. The fund is principally there to benefit organisations that will be unable to open to the public and generate their own income, as a consequence of the coronavirus social distancing measures. Organisations that run cultural events, as well as those operating buildings like theatres and museums will be able to apply to this fund. You can find out more information about how to apply, and if your organisation is likely to qualify for funding, through the website heritagefund.org.uk.