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South Holland Centre, Remembrance parade, new partnership were on the political agenda in 2021



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Political rows over the future of the South Holland Centre and Holbeach's Remembrance parade - and the unveiling of a new council partnership - all grabbed headlines in 2021.

There were also some new faces representing the area on the county council, a long-running labour shortage - and a spotlight on MP Sir John Hayes' outside interests.

Here are our political picks of the last 12 months...

The Clap for Live demonstration showed solidarity with South Holland Centre workers.
The Clap for Live demonstration showed solidarity with South Holland Centre workers.

South Holland Centre

Councillors went ahead with plans to change the staffing structure at the South Holland Centre in July - despite strong opposition.

Arts groups in the town feared the plan - which aimed to reduce roles at the venue - would make it impossible to run a full programme of live theatre. Campaigners had mounted a campaign to try to persuade members to change their minds.

Councillors said the centre was currently costing the taxpayer £250,000 a year and ruled that changes were needed to safeguard its future.

The debate was later followed by news of a new Italian restaurant - with Moninna's opening in the venue.

Harold Payne hits out at Holbeach Parish Council (52205326)
Harold Payne hits out at Holbeach Parish Council (52205326)

Remembrance row

A big row erupted in Holbeach over the decision not to hold the town's usual Remembrance parade.

The parish council said the event could not be held because of issues eith the marshals required and training them up.

They came under fire from veterans' champion Harold Payne, who decided to hold his own People's Parade in defiance of the decision.

Rob Barlow, chief executive of South Holland District Council (52133462)
Rob Barlow, chief executive of South Holland District Council (52133462)

New council partnership

OK, it might not sound sexy - but ask anyone at the district council what the biggest moment of the year was and they'd undoubtedly say it's the creation of the new South and East Lincolnshire Council Partnership (which formally began on October 1).

That saw South Holland join forces with Boston and East Lindsey to form a new entity.

The fruits of that will need to be seen from 2022 onwards - but our exclusive chat with the new chief executive Rob Barlow hinted at what's to come, as did our recent interview with council leader Gary Porter.

All smiles for Rob Gibson as he wins a seat on Lincolnshire County Council.
All smiles for Rob Gibson as he wins a seat on Lincolnshire County Council.

New faces on the county council

There were five new faces representing the area at Lincolnshire County Council following the elections in May.

The Conservatives won six of the district's nine seats - but the party didn't have things all its own way, with then-cabinet member Eddy Poll losing his Spalding East seat to South Holland Independents' Rob Gibson by just 36 votes.

The Tories retained overall control of the council, winning 54 of the 70 seats in Lincolnshire in total.

MP Sir John Hayes (53976101)
MP Sir John Hayes (53976101)

MP's outside interests

Sir John Hayes featured among the national headlines in November after the spotlight fell on MPs with jobs outside of Parliament.

Sir John, who earns £118,000 from three different outside roles, felt this income - one of the highest among all MPs - was a 'private matter'.

Second jobs had been in the spotlight after the resignation of MP Owen Paterson.

Sir John did call for a new standards system that is 'demanding and fair' in the wake of that.

Stuart Phillips Logistics Manager and Wendy Fowler HR manager as Gist unveiled its 'golden hello' bonus (49795340)
Stuart Phillips Logistics Manager and Wendy Fowler HR manager as Gist unveiled its 'golden hello' bonus (49795340)

Driver shortage

Business leaders have raised the alarm about a big labour shortage affecting South Holland throughout 2021.

Nowhere was that more acute than in the haulage sector - with a shortfall of at least 100 drivers leading to a 'crisis point' in the summer.

The driver shortage sparked a wage 'price war' - with hourly rates rising and bonuses being offered to ease the issue.

This was a national problem - and one which was keenly felt during September as motorists struggled to fill up their tanks.

The driver shortage was also blamed for Brylaine taking the drastic step of axing Saturday services for the new year.



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