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Lincolnshire County Council leader accused of taking ‘personal revenge’ on ‘underfunded’ Boston Borough Council

Boston Borough Council leader Anne Dorrian has accused Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill of pursuing “personal revenge” against Boston.

The Independent leader said she was “distraught” to learn that none of her bids for additional funding from the proposed devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire were supported and claims that Coun Hill intentionally ignored her requests due to her refusal to endorse the deal.

The devolution deal, which has received formal approval from Lincolnshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council, and North East Lincolnshire Council, is anticipated to provide an extra £50 million annually to the region.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Coun Martin Hill
Lincolnshire County Council leader Coun Martin Hill

Other key features include a £24 million yearly Mayoral Investment Fund for 30 years, a one-time £28.4 million capital investment, and the transfer of control over the adult education budget starting in 2026.

However, Coun Dorrian has raised concerns about the adequacy of the additional funding in light of inflation, and she also noted that the limited number of seats on the new combined authority did not provide representation for each district council.

She stated: “Boston unanimously did not accept the deal for two principal reasons — the finances weren’t sufficiently attractive, and the governance model didn’t allow for Boston residents to have a guaranteed seat at the table.”

Boston Borough Council leader Coun Anne Dorrian
Boston Borough Council leader Coun Anne Dorrian

The representative for Skirbeck ward clarified that £28.4 million had been allocated to Greater Lincolnshire for the fiscal year 2024/25 prior to the establishment of the Mayoral Combined Authority in 2025.

Following this, Lincolnshire’s district and borough councils were invited to submit ideas and proposals for £20 million out of the total £28.4 million, which would be considered by the county council.

However, despite submitting three separate bids, none of Coun Dorrian’s proposals received support, reinforcing her argument that Boston is one of the most underfunded areas in the region.

Instead, £2 million has been allocated to the UK Food Valley Grant Programme, aimed at supporting the county’s food manufacturing sector, with a focus on the Boston and South Holland area.

However, Coun Dorrian maintains her belief that this allocation will provide little to no tangible benefits for the average Boston resident.

“We get the lowest amount of funding in the whole county,” she added.

“That situation is undeniable and Boston people continually complain that all their council tax gets spent in Lincoln.”

During last week’s Full Council meeting, Coun Anton Dani recounted his conversation with Coun Hill about Boston’s lack of additional funding.

Reportedly, Councillor Hill responded by saying: “Your council is against devolution.”

Coun Dorrian continued: “It’s a huge responsibility when you’re given the power to distribute tax-payer’s money, therefore, it is incredibly important that it is done in a way that is open, transparent and equitable.

“More than anything, Boston residents just want the process to be fair. Coun Hill should take extra care to ensure that there is no hint of personal revenge, just because we disagree.”

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In response, Coun Hill stated: “The capital pot of money from devolution must be spent within the next year, so projects had to be chosen that could be completed quickly, that are within the remit of the county council and in-line with the devolution prospectus submitted to government.

“One such project identified is £2m for grants benefiting businesses within our successful UK Food Valley– which will include those located in the Boston area.

“The more substantial benefits of devolution are in the longer-term work from the annual funding.

“This will see those areas where there are more adults without qualifications and fewer high skilled jobs, getting tailored training and providing a welcome boost for businesses looking to start-up, grow and relocate in every district.”

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