South Holland District Council 'continue to explore the best ways' to spend £190,000 Spalding Power Station cash
Council leaders say they are ‘continuing to explore the best ways’ to spend nearly £190,000 power station cash on employment.
South Holland District Council received £189,178.36 to promote employment in 2019 as a result of the ‘section 106’ planning agreement for Spalding Power Station – but so far has not allocated or spent a penny.
While in 2018, the council was also given £1,790.78 to promote apprenticeships but has also not spent or allocated this money.
The power station, which was built in West Marsh Road in 2001 and received planning permission in 2018 for an expansion, will be paying £1,157,800 to the community over the next 33 years and has so far paid £943,807.92.
A council spokesman said the pandemic had delayed plans for this money.
They said: “The council’s Economic Development and Inward Investment team continue to explore the best ways to utilise the apprenticeship and employment funding for the maximum possible benefit to the local area.
“Understandably the team’s primary focus over the past 14 months has been the distribution of Covid grants to support the district’s businesses, but, as we begin to move out of the pandemic, the planning for the allocation of these funds will continue to be considered.
“The employment fund has a ten year timeframe and the apprenticeship money a five year timeframe for usage, and the council continues to work within these limits to make sure it is put to the most impactful use possible for our residents and businesses.”
As part of the planning permission, the council got £189,178.36 to “enable the council to promote employment by overcoming development constraints in Spalding, and to address the displacement of employment land resulting from the development of the open cycle gas turbine unit” on July 17, 2019.
While on April 5, 2018, it as given £1,790.78 to “apply towards promotion of apprenticeship schemes and to maximise local employment opportunites during the construction of the open cycle gas turbine unit and to establish links with the local agencies and colleges.”
Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Beardsley said: “It has been widely reported that young people will continue to bear the brunt of the unemployment challenges bought about as a direct result of the pandemic. Under-25s have accounted for three in five jobs lost during the Covid-19 pandemic and typically the businesses that recruit young workers have been the hardest hit in the long-term. Locally, businesses are finding it hard to recruit in certain areas, therefore investing in skills is a really important issue at this time.”
Earlier this year Spalding Energy Company Ltd, which runs the Spalding Energy Power Station, has applied to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to vary consent granted in 2000.
It wants to allow an increase in the permitted electrical output of the generating station from “about 800MW (megawatt)” output to “up to 950MW” as facilitated by an upgrade to the existing gas turbines.