December 31, 2022 9.00 am This story is over 16 months old

Reflections: Pat Doody – Proving the resilience of the Greater Lincolnshire economy

A year of progress in the face of challenges

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By Greater Lincolnshire LEP Chair

Pat Doody is the Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.

As I head towards to the conclusion of my 8 and a half years with the LEP I reflect that the Greater Lincolnshire economy has both proven resilient, despite some very challenging headwinds, many of which remain gale force, and has enormous potential given the country’s need for much of what we do well.

Food is a very obvious starting point. We launched the Food Valley just a year ago and already it has gained both national and international recognition and investor interest. Our inward investment pipeline has never looked so strong. We regularly meet with potential partners and only recently hosted a joint event with the Icelandic food cluster to explore what mutual areas we can partner on. The links between our Agrifood heartland in South Lincolnshire and our Fish producers in the North are developing well and expect more announcements in the New Year.

Our Four ‘Game Changers’ have much to collaborate on and clearly the energy sector, recently called the ‘Energy Frontier’ in respect of what we have on the South Bank of the Humber by the CBI, has enormous relevance to the food sector as it to seeks to decarbonise its production, packaging, storage and distribution with expertise in our Region in Hydrogen, Carbon capture, Wind and synthetic fuels all in a near market state.

The Freeport too is very close to market and we would expect its formal launch in Qtr 1 2023. Already a major port complex, the largest in the UK by tonnage, the adoption of Freeport status will bring significant onshoring opportunities and the potential for many thousands of jobs especially in the Energy sector. As a result we are in dialogue with our educators in respect of the skills provision we will need and continued success of the Careers Enterprise network in Greater Lincolnshire is already manifesting itself into much improved Gatsby scores for local schools as they partner up with local employers – some 120 firms engaged and rising.

Defence and Security too, with Lincoln at its geographic heart, is growing rapidly at a time where innovation is at a peak and building on our heritage of RAF excellence we are at the forefront of new development. As a recently formed cluster we are seeing valuable partnerships developing and again National recognition of the work carried out in Greater Lincolnshire.

Other sectors too show great potential, innovation in Rural health has strong momentum with the university’s Medical School proving how much of a difference it is making to our health landscape. The visitor economy, with perhaps the most significant challenges to face, continues to innovate and we have great examples locally of award winning offerings such as the International Bomber Command Centre which, as well as providing a highly relevant and interactive visitor centre, is at the heart of National reflections on the impacts of conflict.

Finally the LEP has striven to drive, with partners, the local economy (our two most recent fundings have been for acceleration of solutions to the labour shortage and for projects that promote clean growth) both vital elements of a successful future. I would also add that our vital manufacturing sector can now look to expert support via a recent achievement of the ‘Made Smarter’ programme which supports digitalisation. Thanks to all who have played their part in supporting this year’s progress, despite it all, and thanks to those who will add to that in 2023.

Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership