Council business leader claims post-Covid recovery hindered by job vacancies

Lincolnshire County Council’s business boss says more than 80,000 job vacancies across the county could “put real pressure” on reopening the economy post-coronavirus.

Coun Colin Davie.

Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment and Planning, told scrutiny councillors on Tuesday that: “Many businesses I have been talking to from the visitor economy to the agri-food sector are recruiting, but they need so many more people.”

He said businesses at a recent Coastal Development Forum were “keen to share the number of vacancies that they’re currently carrying and how it is limiting their ability to recover and respond.”

Coun Davie said that at the end of May there were 20,200 people in Lincolnshire on furlough, with 29,600 people across the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) area.

He said the county’s economy last month had grown by 0.8 per cent, but added this was slower compared to 2.4 per cent in March and two per cent in April.

“We continue to see many positive investments from existing and new employers,” Coun Davie said.

“However, we are also very aware of the challenges that are facing them, particularly around skills and employment as the furlough system winds down, changes to employment levels we watch very keenly.”

“We play a massively vital role in enabling dialogue with government, and we continue to make the voice of Lincolnshire businesses heard in Whitehall and in Westminster,” he told councillors.

Coun Davie was keen to push the county’s levelling up agenda, including further funding, hopes for the A16 corridor, the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub and other investments in businesses.

He added that the council was dealing with “unprecedented levels of inquiries from international investors”.

“The work we’ve done over a number of years from Team Lincolnshire is starting to pay dividends, Lincolnshire is a place that people want to invest in, and we must take advantage of that.”