CABINET CALL: A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet. This week with: Leader Gary Porter
South Holland’s economy is vibrant and diverse in nature, dominated by the agriculture, horticulture and food processing industries.
These industries all rely on the related industries of mechanical engineering, packaging and logistics.
Haulage companies such as GIST, Fowler Welch, Fresh Linc and Turners all have a significant presence in our district. Some 35 per cent of the nation’s food passes through South Holland at some point in its life and in any 24 hour period 1,200 heavy goods vehicles will leave Spalding carrying food.
I’m an active supporter of the ‘A47 Just Dual It!’ Campaign, as is South Holland District Council (SHDC) which is an official partner of the campaign. If successful, it would deliver a huge boost to the regional economy. Shorter and more reliable journey times would attract new business, support existing businesses to grow and create new jobs.
The unemployment figure for South Holland as of February 2018 was 1.2 per cent which is 1.7 per cent lower than the regional average and 2.1 per cent lower than the national average.
South Holland experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand for workers because of seasonal peaks. Agency workers are employed to harvest crops and to pick and pack flowers as required at different times of the year. Food processing companies such as Bakkavor, Dale Head and Addo Food Group employ large numbers of flexible agency workers to meet seasonal demand.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently co-located with SHDC on Priory Road. This move will be a major advantage for residents as they can now access many related services under one roof. SHDC in co-operation with the DWP also organises an annual Jobs Fair to encourage employment.
Anyone who owns a small business, with a rateable value of less than £15,000, may be able to apply for Small Business Rate Relief. There’s more information about this on the South Holland District Council website.
Our second largest town, Holbeach, is home to the emerging Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ), a location that will soon be home to the National Centre of Excellence for Food Manufacturing (University of Lincoln) that will be the main tenant. The Food Enterprise Zone will give agritech businesses the opportunity to move onto the site in a short timeframe due to the Local Development Order that should be in place later in 2018.
The Economic Development Team will be working to promote the FEZ to local businesses and their supply chains across the wider area, all of which further encourages employment in South Holland.