August 7, 2020 1.04 pm This story is over 45 months old

More money still needed to tackle COVID-19 impact, says council leader

Rural economy more vulnerable to pandemic lockdown effects

Lincoln County Council is still calling for more funding and powers to help tackle the impact of coronavirus on the “vulnerable” rural economy.

Leader Councillor Martin Hill said in a video statement on Friday that further measures would help the authority determine “what is best for our county”.

“This would mean we could help to provide what businesses and workers need for secure and high quality employment.”

Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership this week received nearly £26 million for “shovel ready” projects including the Centre for Innovation in Rural Health, the Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone and the creation of new cycle links across the region.

“Research […] shows that county areas are more vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID-19,” said Councillor Hill.

“This is because of our higher proportion of staff working in sectors such as tourism, food services, manufacturing, construction and retail.

“In Lincolnshire we are working on an economic recovery plan and we’ve put considerable focus on trying to address this.”

The authority is helping businesses to train furloughed staff and access financial support.

Councillor Hill praised the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme and council moves to streamline the application proess for restaurants and cafes to put seating outside their premises.

“Our aim is to help businesses bounce back after three months with their doors closed, and bring life back into our town centres.

In some areas, this could drastically change the street scene, and we’re confident that Lincolnshire’s business-owners will be able to make this a success,” he said.

He warned people, however, to continue to take care in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

“Even though we are starting to get out and about and enjoy the summertime more, we still need to be cautious.

“Our infection rates continue to be low […] but it’s important that we’re not complacent.”