Our strengths and challenges
The local government sector is under unprecedented pressure particularly in large rural counties such as Lincolnshire, which is the fourth largest county in England and covers 5,921 square miles.
More than 50,000 people in Lincolnshire live in an area recognised as being in the 10% most deprived in the country. Four of the seven districts in the county are classed as either mainly or largely rural and the sparsity makes services more difficult and costly to deliver.
The current population in Lincolnshire is 751,200, but this figure is predicted to grow by 10% by 2041, with 30% of the population expected to be over 65. Over the past eight years our main Government grant has fallen by 90%, from £211m to £20m.
There is also much uncertainty over future government funding of local authorities and we are awaiting a national funding system that is fit for purpose.
However, despite the challenges, there have been great achievements:
- An expanding visitor economy that generated £1.5bn in 2017, attracting 20 million visitors. This can be attributed mainly to county heritage sites such as Lincoln Castle
- In 2018/19, the council spent £61m on maintaining and improving more than 5,470 miles of the county’s roads. We also improved the protection from flood risk for 33,084 homes, with £106m being invested in flood risk management
- More than 80% of pupils in Lincolnshire are in a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school as determined by Ofsted, while, at 12.9%, Lincolnshire has a higher number of pupils with SEND support than the England average
The county council has achieved a considerable amount in many areas despite the challenges faced and this includes:
- Children’s Services being rated as outstanding and widely regarded as one of the best in the country
- Delivering innovative property projects that have made efficiency savings and benefited partnership working
- Being recognised as one of the highest-achieving highways authorities in the country
- Leading on the delivery of superfast broadband to 97% of residents
More widely, Lincolnshire has a strong mixed economy worth £16bn per year, with key sectors including agrifood, tourism and manufacturing. We recognise key challenges from:
- A huge increase in demand for social care, which is only predicted to grow
- Dealing with waste as national recycling targets rise and recycling markets remain volatile
- Current economic uncertainties requiring residents of all ages to be equipped with the skills of the future
- The scale of change required over the next 30 years to maintain our consistent and evidence-led approach to climate change and leave a positive environmental legacy
- The need for effective digital connectivity and technology across our rural county