It remains to be seen what the long term impact of the pandemic will be, but within many sectors we are seeing a shift to working, learning and engaging in commerce remotely on digital platforms. Analysis of Google community mobility data shows that the use of workspaces in Lincolnshire dropped by 62% during the first lockdown before recovering, with over a quarter (26%) of the workforce travelling to their workplace by February 2021. Nationally the economy shrank by 9.8%.

We responded quickly and flexibly to the many challenges thrown our way. As national policy continues to evolve quickly, we have been adapting and have developed our Covid recovery plan (Protecting, Progressing, Prospering: Greater Lincolnshire Economic Plan for Growth) to work alongside the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Throughout the pandemic, the Greater Lincolnshire LEP has been working alongside over 25 local authority, private sector, third-sector and education organisations to support the economy and business community and has been developing a programme through this year and beyond to ensure the actions are taken forward and have maximum impact on the economy, businesses and residents of Greater Lincolnshire.

While we do this, the world is not standing still. There are significant megatrends, some of which have been accelerated, and which shape a changing context. Chief among these are climate change and the accompanying drive towards decarbonisation across the public and private sectors, automation – where a harsher commercial environment is forcing businesses to adapt to survive – and flexible working, where both the time and location of work has become much less fixed, resulting in new moving and working patterns. Alongside this, world politics must also be taken into account, with the ongoing post-Brexit process and heightened international tensions accompanying the rise of China as an economic superpower.

We are also beginning to embed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into our approach and over the past few years have developed a detailed evidence base to better understand our economy. Building on this foundation, we developed a Local Industrial Strategy setting out our overarching vision to future-proof Greater Lincolnshire’s economy, creating a productive, resilient and low-carbon economic base. Energy, tourism and agrifood are just three examples of our strengths across the largest LEP area in the country and we continue to support all parts of our region to thrive.

To read more about the ambitious plans, projects, and specific schemes detailed in the Economic Plan for Growth, click here.