In his latest blog LEP Chair Pat Doody calls on the Chancellor to deliver on levelling up.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will deliver his spring Budget to Parliament on 3rd March as the country looks to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic - and as Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership I'm calling on the Chancellor to deliver on levelling up.

We welcome the Government’s approach in the roadmap to reopening. Businesses have been calling for certainty and the roadmap helps with this. Keeping on top of data, and setting out very clearly the four conditions which need to be met at each stage, will hopefully help businesses to plan ahead.

However, there will still be many difficult months to come, so it is critical that the furlough scheme and targeted financial help continue to be made available for those businesses who remain closed or operating under restrictions.

The Government should also look at comprehensive support for businesses and incentives to support the workforce to retrain as the recovery gets under way in the second half of the year, as business failures always rise following downturns. 

Like everyone, we hope that this is the last lockdown our businesses will have to face, but we also understand that keeping this virus under control, particularly while the nationwide vaccine roll-out is progressing at such pace, has to be the focus.

As we look ahead to reopening, we’re working with public health teams to support the rollout of  workforce testing and to ensure it is currently in place for businesses whose employees cannot work from home - and we would encourage all businesses to enrol.

For the Budget this week, we wrote on behalf of all local partners in February setting out what our asks would be to support the Greater Lincolnshire economy to revive and grow, and we will be publishing our economic revival plan shortly after the Budget. The Chancellor should use the Budget to reconfirm his commitment to levelling up the regions, to allow organisations such as ours to put our plans for growth into action. 

Many of our plans for future growth are being put in place, and we now need to be empowered and funded to put these into action. Strong public and private partnerships have driven our previous economic successes here in Greater Lincolnshire, and we should continue to work together to achieve our shared aims of economic growth, new jobs and prosperity for everyone.

There are number of game-changing opportunities for real economic growth in Greater Lincolnshire, and we will be looking for positive announcements next week such as landing the six Town Deals across Greater Lincolnshire, being shortlisted for a freeport, and the bids for offshore wind manufacturing investment support programme.