Council chiefs, MP hit back at damning report

COUNCIL chiefs insist Boston’s economic outlook is not all doom and gloom, despite reports labelling the area as bottom in the region for business growth.

A BBC-commissioned Experian study appeared to paint Boston in a negative light – ranking it 298th out of 324 council areas in the country for growth and worst for the East Midlands.

However, Boston Borough Council says its figures for premises paying business rates show an increase of 92 from 2004.

As revealed on today’s front page the council is also highlighting the fact that Experian data shows a high number of self-employed people operating in the area.

Lincolnshire County Council believes projects such as the Boston Barrier and Market Place revamp will boost the economy.

The barrier project has been stalled by county councillors, who delayed a decision on funding for the scheme earlier this month for more detail on the plan to be prepared by officers.

Speaking about the Experian report, Justin Brown, county council head of enterprise, said: “This is disappointing news. Boston has a lot going for it and we have several projects underway there.

“For example, the Boston flood barrier will improve confidence in the town and encourage more businesses to invest there.

“Besides this, significant improvements continue to be made to the town’s infrastructure. Following last year’s road improvements, we’re currently revamping the Market Place to make it more attractive to shoppers and businesses.

“And over the next few years, we’ll be working to improve broadband speeds countywide. All this work will provide a valuable boost to the local economy, attracting further investment and creating jobs.”

Boston and Skegness MP Mark Simmonds believes today’s Budget announcement by George Osborne will help kick-start the economy.

Mr Simmonds said: “Businesses across the UK are struggling in this difficult economic climate, especially in my constituency of Boston and Skegness.

“The Budget we will see on Wednesday will show that Britain is prepared to confront its problems, to create jobs, growth and prosperity and a brighter future for the next generation.

“The Government has already introduced a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to get cheaper loans to businesses and we have created the most competitive business tax system in the developed world.

“The Government is also committed to cutting the red tape burden which is currently placed on businesses and ensuring that we educate future generations so that they can make a positive contribution to our economy, across a variety of industries.”