CORONAVIRUS: County chief speaks of optimism as more than £158m business grants handed out around Lincolnshire

County chiefs are optimistic for Lincolnshire’s economy as more than £158 million of business grants have been handed out since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Count Coun Colin DavieCount Coun Colin Davie
Count Coun Colin Davie

However, COVID restrictions have seen more than 95,600 people in the county on furlough.

Lincolnshire County Council’s portfolio holder for economy Councillor Colin Davie updated committee members on the latest figures on Tuesday.

Mr Davie reported on a number of initiatives including growth programmes, tourism boosts, business park improvements and other schemes.

He said: “Despite all the challenges we face, all the issues with COVID we’re going to have to deal with over the next six months, I’m really optimistic that we can get through this and the Lincolnshire economy will come out the other side, resilient, strong, and in better shape to face the future.”

Councillor Davie said Lincolnshire councils handed out more than 13,500 business grants up to August 31.

Broken down by district councils:

Boston – 1,227 grants totalling £14,160million

East Lindsey – 3,650 grants totalling £42.725million

City of Lincoln – 1,678 grants totalling £20.965million

North Kesteven – 1,783 grants totalling £20million

South Holland – £1,448 grants totalling £16.85million

South Kesteven – 2,265 grants totalling £27.495million

West Lindsey – 1,461 grants totalling £16.425million

On top of those, it is estimated that the total value of job retention scheme claims (furlough) in Lincolnshire was just over £300 million

The furlough figures make up 29% of the eligible workforce, lower than the national average of 30%.

East Lindsay had the highest take up in the county at 35%, while Boston had one of the lowest take-up rates in the UK at 21%.

Nationally, Councillor Davie said there was a “challenging picture” with UK GDP 9.2% lower than in February generally, but 40% lower in terms of hospitality and accommodation, one of Lincolnshire’s most important industries.

He said 2.7% of the county’s businesses are now at risk of insolvency or bankruptcy

However, the number of people claiming benefits last month had decreased by 0.7%.