OFFICIAL figures show Boston has had one of the biggest population increases in the country in the past decade – and council chiefs now want to use that as evidence to get more cash.
The first batch of data from the 2011 Census puts the borough’s population at 64,600 – an increase of 15.8 per cent from 55,800 in 2001.
That level of increase was the 14th highest of any local authority area in the country, and eighth biggest outside London.
Politicians have been arguing that the population data – used by the Government to help calculate funding for schools, hospitals and transport projects – did not reflect the true picture here, especially with large numbers of migrant workers arriving from Eastern Europe since the last census.
They now hope this week’s figures will strengthen their case for extra help.
Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford said: “It’s an ongoing battle but it is good news. At least it is a figure in the right direction.
“I feel the figure is nearer to 70,000 but it’s a 15 per cent increase at least.”
The Government has already said Boston will get no more money this year and councillors are waiting on a decision for next year.
The authority has been hit with a 31.9 per cent drop in funding from the Government from 2010/11 to 2014/15.
Coun Bedford praised officers for ensuring as many people as possible took part in last March’s census.
Coun Bedford added: “It really was a concerted effort to try to get people to register and fill the forms in and the result does justify the time spent on it.
“In the past it has been difficult to get the migrant population to register so if we’ve at least got it over that you must register to help the borough then that’s a step in the right direction.”
A second set of census data will show more detailed statistics including national identity, ethnicity and religion.
MP Mark Simmonds said he has long argued that the population figure for Boston was ‘massively underestimated’ and that the area is ‘under-funded’.
He says he has lobbied on behalf of the borough to ministers and civil servants and added: “I am determined that Lincolnshire will receive its fair allocation in future spending reviews.”