I’M SURE many people don’t agree with what I write but, on the other hand, it’s comforting to hear that some people (unaware of who writes this column) have commented to me that Observer is often saying what many Boston people think.
On many occasions I’ve criticised decisions and views of the council and the fact that many of our councillors don’t appear to know what is staring them in the face.
Last week’s Experian report made many (to me) valid points, the main one claiming that Boston is ‘the worst place for business growth’ in the East Midlands.
On cue, the portfolio holder for the town centre, Coun Richmond, comments that Boston ‘is a good place for business’, citing the fact that we have more than our fair share of self-employed people.
I don’t doubt that for a minute; but might it not be because there are no other jobs available? The people who go self-employed are often those who do not like the idea of being on benefits, have a skill they can make money from, and decide to take advantage of this; good luck to them.
The council claim there is an increase of 92 in the number of premises paying business rates – since 2004. Perhaps the increase is due, in part, to the number of foreign shops in the town with these businesses taking over shops which would otherwise be empty.
And, of course, we have our friends from Lincoln County Council telling us we have a lot going for us, the flood barrier (which they have put on hold for the time being!) improving confidence in the town, and the revamp of the Market Place making the town more attractive to shoppers and businesses.
Well, all this had better work pretty quick. At the last count there were at least five empty shops in the Market Place, we’ve recently lost several long-established firms, and there are rumours of more to follow. Car park charges up, customers down.
Our MP seems certain the budget will help kick-start the economy – oh yeah? Perhaps he’d better inform the banks. I forgot – we’re all in it together; it just depends what ‘it’ is!
Perhaps Experian was spot on?