Tough times are predicted

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HIGH unemployment, low skills, an ageing population and jobs cuts are the tough challenges facing South Holland’s economy outlined in a new report.

The Lincolnshire Research Observatory has published Lincolnshire: a Local Economic Assessment 2011 that looks in detail at the county and district wide picture as things stand.

The report shows that Lincolnshire has weathered the worst of the recession and is slowly recovering towards pre-2007 levels but highlights that unemployment is a problem, particularly in the Spalding and Holbeach area.

The report uses the Independent Labour Organisation definition for unemployment – which shows the number of working age people out of work – and in Spalding and Holbeach that figure is 8.1 per cent, the highest in the county.

The report states: “Using the Independent Labour Organisation wider measure of unemployment one in three wards have unemployment rates that are above the national average.

“A number of these wards are in the coastal zones of Mablethorpe and Skegness running down to Holbeach in the south, with some of these, particularly the latter, having an unemployment rate around double that of England.”

South Holland is in the lowest “quartile” when it comes to economic competitiveness in the country, and second lowest in the county, above East Lindsey.

Lincolnshire’s economy is now worth more than £10bn but remains in the bottom five performing areas nationally – on a par with parts of Eastern Europe, the southern Mediterranean and rural parts of Spain and France.

The report states 39 per cent of the population has no qualifications and predicts the over-65s population will increase significantly in the period to 2030. 58,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of public sector cuts.

The number of overseas nationals registering for National Insurance has fallen in South Holland during the recession. In 2007/08 there were 1,610. That fell to 1,420 in 2008/09 and 1,340 in 2009/10.