CABINET CALL: A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet. This week with: COUN NICK WORTH
Christmas and New Year is one of the busiest times of the year for our businesses in South Holland and particularly those related to the food and flower industry, whether directly growing it, importing, processing, packaging, marketing, transporting it to supermarkets or selling it direct. One way or another you will have a product from South Holland or Lincolnshire either on your plate or enhancing the decorations in your house – something we can all be proud of and all have a connection.
There is also a huge support network for our businesses and that includes the likes of Business Lincolnshire, which is part of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, who are there to help new start-up businesses, increase growth in existing businesses or just make their current business processes that little bit more efficient.
Specifically they offer support and advice on business savings, supply chain support, help with new digital technology and grant funding.
Over 600 businesses have received support in the past year, and many have applied for grant funding towards their growth plans.
As part of this a new £3million fund was launched to help businesses in Greater Lincolnshire, which is administered by the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub.
Capital grants of between £150,000 and £500,000 are available to businesses operating in one of the LEP’s priority sectors: agrifood, manufacturing, health and care, ports and logistics, visitor economy, low carbon and digital.
They can help to pay for property infrastructure, buildings and refurbishment costs, plant, machinery and equipment, IT and new technology or staff recruitment and training costs.
Finally at a recent Business Breakfast I was asked to dispel a common myth by a local vegetable grower.
The myth was that workers who you see in the field cutting cabbages, Brussel sprouts and cauliflowers are paid below the minimum wage, ie cheap labour.
For this particular company they are getting on average £25-an-hour! This is a direct shift in thinking with the direct labour force decreasing as a result of Brexit and a need to recruit more skilled, but fewer workers in what is fast becoming a very automated industry. Good news indeed.
I would like finish by taking the opportunity to wish all our businesses a very prosperous New Year in 2018.