CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Council deputy leader Nick Worth
Recent data on the economy for the last five years to 2015 shows that South Holland has experienced levels of growth above that seen nationally.
While low crime rates and good schools are something we are already delivering on, our record on actual houses built continues to fallCoun Nick Worth
The Gross Value Added per hour worked (value of outputs less the cost of inputs) has increased in South Holland by nearly 20 per cent compared to nine per cent nationally.
Employment growth, however, is below the national average and low employment levels in our area are starting to feel the strain as the older ‘baby boomer’ generation start to retire with less people available to replace them.
Research also shows the effects of that retirement, migration and expansion of the workforce over the next seven years and predicts a massive shortfall.
Finding a solution is quite challenging, but more housing that attracts working age people to the area, low crime rates and good schools are part of the solution.
While low crime rates and good schools are something we are already delivering on, our record on actual houses built continues to fall, which will be a key area of focus for South Holland going forward.
The South East Local Plan which will guide development of those houses in South Holland for the next twenty years will be deposited with the planning inspector in the next few weeks. Clearly robotics and automation will play a large part in determining the future workforce requirements as well, which is why in South Holland we are progressing work in this area through the University of Lincoln, Holbeach campus and the upcoming Food Enterprise Zone.
Giving our businesses the opportunity to grow is vital for the future of our workforce and our Grants 4 Growth programme is now well underway to do just that.
Available for small- to medium-sized businesses, capital grants are available towards initiatives and processes that prompt growth, create jobs and improve efficiency, including new facilities and equipment.
So far there have been 55 expressions of interest. Eighteen of these applications with a total value of £139,700 have been approved and five of these have already been claimed, with a value of £12,100. While in the early stages this grant fund has already created one job with a forecast of a further 25 jobs as the applications deliver on their agreements.