Nearly a quarter of Lincolnshire’s businesses have closed or ceased trading under lockdown, county council chiefs told

Lincolnshire bosses have mourned the closure of nearly a quarter of the county’s businesses as nearly £200 million has been paid out to support the economy.

Coun Colin Davie.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive portfolio holder for economy Coun Colin Davie told the authority’s executive during a live virtual meeting that £198.7 million had been handed out so far by district and unitary councils – around 80 per cent of the money available.

However, he said “significant changes” to the economy were ahead as the county had seen nearly 24 per cent of businesses “closed or ceased to trade”, at least temporarily, under the coronavirus pandemic.

“To me this is the greatest area of concern,” said Coun Davie, adding the majority were in hospitality and tourism.

He said he was working with partners to find solutions as the lockdown moved from phase one to two.

“It’s clear there will be significant changes in the months or years ahead,” said Coun Davie.

“This has been a substantial shock to our economic system, not just in this country, but around the world.”

Coun Davie thanked colleagues and staff at the Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership and councils who he said had “worked tirelessly to support businesses in this very difficult time, particularly as we look to the future.”

He said at the moment, 22 per cent of the county’s workforce had been furloughed – where the tax payer is paying 80 per cent of wages – but 70 per cent of staff were working “normally”.

He concluded that he was “heartened to see the optimism” of a number of business leaders, many of which were using the lockdown to plan for the future.