November 2018 Economic Newsletter by Cllr Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council
Business growth is all about jobs. From the Quarterly Economic Survey that we carry out in partnership with Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce we know that a healthy proportion of businesses expect to recruit over the coming year. There are job opportunities for everyone, and in particular we want young people in the county to know about these opportunities. That is why we have created a website called www.theworldofwork.co.uk which has plenty of information on it. Schools have told us that it is an important asset to them, and we have recently added two new sections to help teachers, parents, and carers to illustrate the opportunities to young people. The sections are a “Careerometer” which helps young people to understand what sort of jobs are relevant to their own interests, and “Because statistics matter” which tells them all about the type of salary and the number of vacancies that they can expect with that job.
We have recently provided a letter of support to a bid for a Lincolnshire Institute of Technology. This is a project that is being led by a partnership all of the further education and higher education institutions in Lincolnshire. If the bid is successful then it will give us the chance to make sure that T-levels, the government’s flagship new training programmes, will be delivered in the county. T-levels are focused on the skills that businesses need, so they will help businesses to grow and will give trainees the skills to gain a good job.
Moving on to tourism, Lincolnshire’s heritage and environment provide a good platform for us to promote the area. We have recently worked with our partners in district councils and the LEP to re-instate the www.visitlincolnshire.com website. Please do have a look, the photography and messages are inspirational. The website has been designed to act as a platform to other websites in order to avoid duplication. One of our partners tells us that traffic to their own website has gone up by 20% since we launched the revised www.visitlincolnshire.com and I am sure that we will see a similar level of increase across the whole county.
We continue to improve facilities in the area; we have started on site on an access path at Chapel and will have improvements in the parking arrangements at Anderby Creek in place for the new tourist season. We’ve also run a successful training event on customer care for the tourism sector; called “Be My Guest” it attracted around 100 delegates when it ran in early November.
We are facilitating business investment projects across the whole county. Large businesses who variously manufacture farm machinery, perfume, and factory doors have received major LEP grants as has an internet based distribution company. Small businesses can be the lifeblood of their community and we continue to help them too, including providing advice to them on attracting grants. In the past few weeks a childcare business, precision machinery business, and several farms have received grants for new technology. These businesses are from the whole of the county. If there are businesses in your area that you think would benefit from receiving advice on how to grow, and potentially would be able to attract a grant, then please direct them to www.businesslincolnshire.com and one of our advisers will soon be in touch.
Although I have been keen to make the point in this newsletter that our work is across the whole county, and indeed it is, it is important for me to mention a development at our industrial estate in Kirton near Boston. Every serviced acre on the site has now either been sold or is under offer, and we have an active list of businesses who are interested in taking plots on phase III of the estate. Although there was recently some very sad news about the closure of Fogarty in Boston, the interest in Kirton distribution park shows that the area is vibrant. Further afield it was good to see the announcements about a substantial expansion of the Princes site at Long Sutton and plenty of others across the county.
High Streets are going through a change, and it was pleasing to see that the government has made a £600m plus budget available for investment in improved transport, in conversion of premises, and in heritage. We expect that a prospectus for the budget will be released at Christmas-time, and whilst I am sure that the budget will be over-subscribed there is definitely a need for us to make strong bids to this pot.
And finally, you will have seen that I recently signed an economic partnership agreement with Hunan province in China. Since then we have helped Lincolnshire businesses to present their products at a major event in Shanghai, and the government’s Department of International Trade have proposed that they will organise an inward mission of Chinese businesses to follow up on the contacts that were made in Shanghai. We are giving Lincolnshire businesses a platform to access this huge market, and I am confident that they will take up the opportunity.