Local Democracy

There have been 206 new coronavirus cases and 15 COVID-related deaths in Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday.

The government’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded 170 new cases in Lincolnshire, 18 in North Lincolnshire and 18 in North East Lincolnshire.

On Tuesday, 14 deaths were registered in Lincolnshire and one in North Lincolnshire. These figures include deaths both in and out of hospitals, as well as residents in hospitals outside the county.

NHS England reported five new local hospital deaths on Tuesday at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

On Tuesday, national cases increased by 20,089 to 3,689,746 while deaths rose by 1,631 to 100,162 — surpassing the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths since the pandemic started.

All of Lincolnshire’s care homes have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination after meeting targets of inoculation by the weekend, according to local health bosses.

The NHS vaccination team delivered tens of thousands of vaccinations to all of the 202 elderly homes in the county.

The new asymptomatic COVID rapid testing centre in Lincoln completed nearly 200 coronavirus tests in its first day.

The facility at St Swithin’s Community Centre on Croft Street, off Monks Road, opened on Monday after relocating from Lincoln City’s LNER Stadium. It has so far found one positive case which had not shown symptoms.

The number of patients with coronavirus being treated at hospitals across Greater Lincolnshire has dropped by just over 20%.

There were 324 patients with coronavirus in the county’s hospitals on January 6. This has now dropped to 250, which is a decrease of around 23%.

COVID infection rates in Lincolnshire are “bouncing around all over the place” after Boston and South Holland saw spikes in the past few days, a health boss has said.

Boston went from 168.2 coronavirus cases per 100,000 of the population on Friday to 205.2 on Monday this week. This has been due to a “strong uptake of community-wide testing” in the borough, namely the two new rapid testing centres in the town.

Nationally, supplies of vaccines are “tight” but the UK believes it will receive enough doses to meet its targets, the vaccine minister has said.

Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast manufacturers were “confident” they would deliver to the UK amid warnings of production delays.

Some travellers coming to England will have to quarantine in hotels, amid concerns about new COVID variants, the government is expected to announce.

Boris Johnson will discuss proposals with ministers later, but a decision may not be made public until Wednesday.

Keeping schools closed is having a “calamitous” impact on children, some of the UK’s top paediatricians have warned as they called for teachers to be prioritised for a vaccine.

The group said they were witnessing an “acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases”, with parents suffering breakdowns and other psychological stress due to home-schooling.

Here’s Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rate up to January 25 according to the government’s dashboard:

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rates from Jan 18 to Jan 25. | Data: Gov UK / Table: James Mayer for The Lincolnite

Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday, January 26

Greater Lincolnshire includes Lincolnshire and the unitary authorities of North and North East (Northern) Lincolnshire.

46,628 cases (up 206)

  • 32,611 in Lincolnshire (up 170)
  • 7,172 in North Lincolnshire (up 18)
  • 6,845 in North East Lincolnshire (up 18)

1,802 deaths (up 15)

  • 1,293 from Lincolnshire (up 14)
  • 276 from North Lincolnshire (up one)
  • 233 from North East Lincolnshire (no change)

of which 1,071 hospital deaths (up five)

  • 658 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up five)
  • 33 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
  • 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
  • 379 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (no change)

3,689,746 UK cases, 100,162 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.

Scrutiny councillors at East Lindsey District Council have called a 3.49% rise in council tax in 2021-22 “small” and trivial, hitting out at historical decisions not to increase rates.

The authority’s plans will see the council’s precept rise by £4.95 a year – an extra 9.5p on a Band D property.

ELDC remains one of the lowest rates in the county and its precept makes up 8% of the overall bill, with the rest going to county council, the drainage boards and police and crime commissioner.

At a meeting of the council’s overview committee on Tuesday, Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said: “3% on a small amount is footling really, percentages don’t mean a huge amount really do they?”

“The claim that we’re the cheapest place in the East Midlands was pathetic really, it doesn’t matter. If people need the services we need to charge for them.”

“We did start from a low base and we do have to be grown up about it, things are costing more money and if we want those services, we have to pay for them don’t we?”

She, and other councillors, called for the breakdown of where council tax goes to be made clearer – particularly around how much went to the local drainage boards.

Committee Chairman Councillor Fiona-Martin said a number of years without percentage increases “didn’t actually do us any favours”.

“Once you have the end of the day, in some stages you then have a rather large increase because you’ve got so far behind everybody else and you can’t deliver services without the resources to do so,” she said.

Council bosses say the 2021-22 budget looks at redressing the imbalance created by the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the economic recovery.

Council officer Adrian Sibley told councillors that one saving grace for the authority this year included a delay in the fairer funding review for a year, meaning any predicted shortfalls from that could be carried over into the next year and further savings can be found in the meantime.

Councillor Richard Fry, finance portfolio holder for ELDC said: “We all know we have been, and still are, going through challenging times and so, this is not a normal budget at all. What we’re focusing on pretty much at the heart of this project is economic recovery.”

The budget includes extra income from commercial activities, ongoing savings from reduced spending on supplies and services as well as the new Strategic Alliance and increased capital investment in council assets.

Boston Borough Council has also approved an almost £5 council tax hike for 2021/22, but are looking at a deficit of £700,000 in future years.

South Holland also going for £4.95 (2.75%), South Kesteven going for a round £5 (3.06%) and Lincoln increasing by £5.31 (1.9%).

Lincolnshire County Council accepted a 1.99% rise, but declined to take an extra 3% for its adult social care precept. However, North East Lincolnshire has so far had no issues with taking the full 4.98% rise.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is seeking to hike his share of tax by 5.9% (20-26p extra per week).

Boston Borough Council has approved an almost £5 council tax hike for 2021/22, but are looking at a deficit of £700,000 in future years.

There will be £98,000 surplus for next year due to coronavirus postponing the fair funding review. Band D properties in Boston will go from £192.96 to £197.91, a 2.57% rise.

This amounts to a 9p per week increase for band D properties and a 6p per week rise for Band A properties, bringing a return to the council of around £100,000 a year.

Section 151 Officer Adrian Sibley said: “We are looking at a £98,000 surplus for next year, which means that we’re collecting more income, and we’ll have more fees and charges and government grants than what we’ll be spending.

“It’s largely because the coronavirus has pushed the fair funding review down the road another year.”

“The fair funding review is where the government looks at how it allocates funds to each council, and it looks like there will be a shift from districts and borough councils to county councils and unitaries in the future years because that’s where the demands and pressures are on public finances at the moment, particularly in terms of Adult Social Care and Children’s Services.”

He added: “It looks like that will turn into a deficit of around about £700,000, so we’ll have to find that money in future years.”

“It could have been a lot worse than this and some councils up and down the country are in an extremely perilous financial position, and this council isn’t in that position, it’s in a fairly healthy position.”

The Audit & Governance Committee on Monday evening.

Proposals were made for a 0% increase on council tax for the borough.

Cllr Anne Dorrian said: “I think the residents of Boston need a break. And I think that it’s in our gift to give them a break. And that break should be no council tax increase at all this year.”

She added: “We have many residents who are very low waged. And I feel very strongly that when we’ve got the opportunity to support them, that’s what they elected us to do. It’s not a PR exercise, please don’t think that. It’s a genuine plea from me for the more vulnerable people in our society.”

“I think this would give people a real genuine mental health boost.”

Cllr Thomas Ashton said: “I believe it would be greatly irresponsible of us to make that £700,000 deficit next year an £800,000 deficit.”

Proposals for a 0% increase for 2021/22 fell with seven out of 10 voting to approve the council tax increase.

The authorities have joined several others in reaching for higher tax rises, with South Holland also going for £4.95 (2.75%), South Kesteven going for a round £5 (3.06%) and Lincoln increasing by £5.31 (1.9%).

Lincolnshire County Council accepted a 1.99% rise, but declined to take an extra 3% for its adult social care precept. However, North East Lincolnshire has so far had no issues with taking the full 4.98% rise.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is seeking to hike his share of tax by 5.9% (20-26p extra per week).

The Boston budget proposals will go to consultation and full council before April.

+ More stories