Daniel Jaines

Local Democracy Reporter

Daniel Jaines has been working as a journalist in Lincolnshire for over a decade. He joined Stonebow Media in 2018 as a Local Democracy Reporter, covering local authorities across Greater Lincolnshire for the BBC Local News Partnerships scheme.


There have been 618 new cases of coronavirus confirmed on Thursday in Lincolnshire, as the weekly number of people getting jabbed continues to fall, sparking a call to action from local health bosses.

The government’s COVID-19 dashboard on Thursday reported 428 new cases in Lincolnshire, 110 in North East Lincolnshire and 80 in North Lincolnshire.

NHS figures have reported no further hospital deaths in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole hospitals trust.

Government figures, however, showed two further updates to their deaths data for North East Lincolnshire residents.

On Wednesday, the dashboard recorded 599 new cases, with 363 of those in Lincolnshire, 154 in North East Lincolnshire and 82 in North Lincolnshire. There was one death reported yesterday in North Lincolnshire.

Nationally, on Thursday cases increased by 31,117 to 5,801,561 while deaths rose by 85 to a total of 129,515.

Lincolnshire’s coronavirus cases up to July 29.

Vaccine figures released by the government on Thursday showed Lincolnshire had now given out 1,019,216 cumulative doses, up 13,056 on the previous week’s 1,006,160 total. The increase is 715 doses fewer than the previous week’s 13,771 doses.

Of those 557,452 are first doses, while 461,764 are second. The documents have updated the Lincolnshire population to 634,453 using the Office for National Statistics 2020 population estimates. This means the percentage of the population over the age of 16 to have received a first dose is now 87%, while 73% have had their second second.

Of those aged over 18, a total of 554,592 people have received their first dose, while 460,784 people over 18 have been double-jabbed.

There have been 2,860 under 18s given their initial jabs – these include individuals who are, or who live with, vulnerable people. 980 have had their second.

In North East Lincolnshire 195,315 doses have been given out, with 87,200 of those being second doses. Meanwhile, 221,723 doses have been given out in North Lincolnshire, of which 101,130 are second doses.

Compared to the latest population figures, around 68% of North East Lincolnshire’s eligible population has been double-jabbed, while in North Lincolnshire the proportion is 71.8%.

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Young people in Lincolnshire are being warned they still need to get their COVID jabs – even though infection rates are dropping.

While more than one million vaccinations have now been given across the county, there has been a very definite drop-off in uptake amongst people under 40, especially those aged 24-29, and this is a picture that is replicated across the entire country.

Rebecca Neno, director of COVID and influenza vaccination programmes for NHS Lincolnshire, said: “Anecdotally there does seem to be a sense amongst some people, particularly younger ones, that since the numbers of COVID cases have been falling over the previous week, they do need not to be vaccinated. They could not be more wrong.”

Nationally, the debate over the “pingdemic” has continued, with the number of self-isolation alerts sent by the COVID-19 app rising to a record 689,313.

The figures covering the seven days to July 21 are an increase of more than 70,000 compared to last week.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam. | Photo: ULHT

Boston’s own Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, has been answering questions on BBC Radio 1 today where he revealed vaccines have prevented 22 million cases and 60,000 deaths.

However, he said young people are still being taken to intensive care and that COVID variants had “diluted the effectiveness” of the vaccine.

He warned of a “bumpy” autumn and winter, but said vaccines could prevent any further lockdowns.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has told Sky News that more countries could be added to the amber and green travel lists as the government gets “increasingly confident”.

The next review is a week on Thursday, however, on Wednesday the government announced fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the US would not have to quarantine when arriving in England, Scotland or Wales from an amber list country.


Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, July 29

80,173 cases (up 618)

  • 52,303 in Lincolnshire (up 428)
  • 12,356 in North Lincolnshire (up 80)
  • 15,514 in North East Lincolnshire (up 110)

2,212 deaths (up two)

  • 1,629 from Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 304 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 279 from North East Lincolnshire (up two)

of which 1,324 hospital deaths (no change)

  • 820 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up one)
  • 43 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
  • 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
  • 460 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (no change)

5,801,561 UK cases, 129,515 deaths

DATA SOURCE — FIGURES CORRECT AT THE TIME OF THE LATEST UPDATE. POSTCODE DATA INCLUDES DEATHS NOT IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES OR IN HOSPITALS OUTSIDE AUTHORITY BOUNDARIES.

The City of Lincoln Council has run out of ‘easy hits’ for budget cuts, the leader has told a committee examining changes to toilet provision.

A scrutiny select committee on Wednesday night rejected a call-in on the controversial changes, the day after a 1,500 signature petition against the closure of Westgate loos was handed in to the authority.

Conservative Councillors Thomas Dyer, Christopher Reid and Mark Storer called for more detailed information on the decision, further consultation and for an equality and impact assessment to be carried out.

Responding to a question on whether funding could be found elsewhere, Councillor Ric Metcalfe reiterated the council had already made £8 million savings since 2010, and still had a further £1.75m to find over the next two years.

He said this had mostly been without affecting frontline services.

“We’ve been everywhere else – more than once, we’ve been everywhere, all over the council’s budget and continued to squeeze it literally until the pips squeak,” he said.

“We are in a position where we are absolutely desperate because this has been going on for so long.

“There are no easy hits left, absolutely none. We would not be sitting round this table tonight if there were.”

He said if there was movement in the budget, the authority would ‘not have done the dreadful deed’ of closing the Drill Hall.

“We’re not in a situation where we’ve got choices available to us, we’re going to have this conversation for the next year or two unless something fundamental changes and people are still going to sit around this table and ask ‘why can’t we find it from somewhere else?’.”

Councillor Metcalfe refused to say what the next cuts would be, how much they would be or where they would come from.

He said a suggestion a 20p charge could be introduced was too risky to take forward since it did not guarantee an income.

The committee was told the business case for the changes had been thorough, with consultation responses of around 800 reaching double the average 350 to 400, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campaigners outside Westgate toilets. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Councillor Metcalfe said if the council’s position changed, he would consider how to reopen public toilets.

He reiterated no-one wanted to see toilets close, and that if he were not a councillor he, and his colleagues, would have been joining campaigners.

An equality assessment had been carried out, the committee was told.

Councillor Thomas Dyer, introducing the call-in, said he believed the ‘full narrative’ of the decision had not been discussed and accused the consultation of ‘setting out to generate the answers it wanted’.

“As consultations go, this was far off what I’d expect to see for such an important topic and was not as well promoted as city council consultations,” he said.

He said the cluster of toilets around Tentercroft Street, the bus station and Central Market was disproportionate to those around the uphill area.

The committee voted against the call-in with the poll pitting the two Labour and two Conservative members against each other and the tie broken by Labour chairman Bill Bilton.

A Lincolnshire Independents councillor has been asked to apologise to officers and publish a retraction after a standards committee found she had breached North Kesteven District Council’s Code of Conduct.

An independent investigation said a newsletter published by Councillor Marianne Overton had implied officers acted illegally, suggesting something “dodgy” had gone on, and that council officers were not being impartial.

However, Councillor Overton and her defence counsel accused the investigation, sparked by a complaint made by Conservative council leader Richard Wright, of being an “misuse of process” to support “a politically motivated attack”.

During a two day hearing, the authority’s Standards Committee was told an investigation into the complaint found one article within Councillor Overton’s newsletter, headlined “Smaller Council North Kesteven” breached the code of conduct.

Five further complaints around several other articles in the newsletter were dismissed.

The article centred on changes to the planning committee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a move to online meetings.

A vote at full council reduced the seats on the planning sub-committees from 22 and 23 seats, so 11 seats each split between six NK Administration, four NK Independents Group and one Unaligned.

Council officers felt this, along with changes to other committees, reflected the make-up of the 43 councillors – with 25 NK Administration Group, 14 NK Independent Group and four unaligned members.

Councillor Overton failed to get an amendment approved which would have changed it to 12 seats with a 6:5:1 split.

A week later her newsletter, which has a circulation of around 3,000 people, was published and the subsequent complaint was made.

North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright made the complaint which sparked the investigation.

Those who carried out the investigation said they felt the report suggested there had been illegality — with wording such as “reduced the democratic representation”, “fewer voices”, and “as long as the democratic balance was maintained, as required by law”.

Councillor Overton’s report also said the NK Admin Group had “taken disproportionate extra seats” and that the independents would be “watching very closely” how the extra members “speak and vote” on planning.

Investigators said officers were “100% convinced” their calculations were correct and were “perturbed” by the article.

Lead investigator Melvin Kenyon said the use of the phrase “measures taken” by the NK Admin group during investigations implied there had been “interference” in the process.

“We felt she was suggesting that something dodgy had gone on in the council,” he told the committee.

He added that to the man on the street, the council was an “amorphous body” and there was no difference between council members and council officers.

Councillor Marianne Overton (right) with her defence counsel Joel Semakula. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Councillor Overton’s defence counsel Joel Semakula argued that what Councillor Overton had written was protected by Article 10 of the Human Rights Act – Freedom of Expression.

He said it was “simply a statement of fact” and that she had a reasonable factual basis for her belief “regardless of how narrow”.

He noted disagreements between councillors Wright and Overton had been brewing for some time.

“This [complaint] is a political motivated attack by the leader of the council […] an attack on the freedom of expression of an opposition member,” he said.

“We’re asking the committee to find no breach of the code and to not allow its process to be used as part of political weaponry to silence opposition.”

“It is a misuse of the disciplinary process to pursue a dispute in this way.”

“In reality, the committee has been asked to spend a substantial amount of time and money on a political dispute between the leader of the council and the leader of the opposition,” he later added.

He said the complaint, made more than a year ago, had already caused considerable distress for Councillor Overton and asked for no further action to be taken.

Councillor Overton denied her report had been aimed at council officers and said she had faith in them.

She said she had “no intention of suggesting any illegality or misconduct by officers”.

However, she said she believed her proposal “was a simple solution” and that her article was factual.

“There were fewer people in that committee and that means [democratic representation] would be less,” she said.

“I absolutely believed that to be the case.”

The article from Councillor Overton’s newsletter which was under particular scrutiny.

Asked if she had suggested something was illegal, she said: “Absolutely not. If I wanted to suggest something was illegal, I would say this is not legal, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say it was illegal. What I said was that it is not proportionate.”

“I went to a lot of trouble to keep officers out of it, because I do trust the officers and believe that they do their absolute best to remain impartial and I am very impressed with the dedication and determination.”

“That was not my intention, because political balance is a political decision.”

The committee committee concluded that although the newsletter benefited from protection by Article 10, the last paragraph, referring to NK Administration taking seats, had gone “beyond the norm of what would be expected” and that Councillor Overton had breached the code.

They said, however, they found the wording was not directed at officers or directors but at members.

The committee chairman will make a report to the next Full Council on the findings of the committee.

The committee asked Councillor Overton to apologise to councillors and to print a retraction in her newsletter – however, this was not an enforceable request.

Speaking following the meeting, Councillor Richard Wright refuted it was a politically motivated attack.

He said: “I made it clear at the time there wasn’t political motivation. It was about the fact I wanted to ensure the integrity of the organisation. I thought it was a step too far and brought the council into disrepute.

“It was nothing to do with politics, the council is made up of a number of officers and the reputation of the council is very important if the public are to trust us in our duty.”

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