Burnley low pay is ‘no surprise’

Photo by Jason Alden

Photo by Jason Alden

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Wages in Burnley are among the lowest in the North-West according to a new independent report.

The figures compiled by the ManpowerGroup found a huge divide in average wages with the average salaray in Burnley calculated at £24,600 – the 36th lowest out of 38 areas.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he was not surprised by the figures, but added that wages in Burnley had been steadily increasing over the last four years.

The Government’s apprenticeship ambassador said: “In years gone by Burnley was really in the doldrums, but the last few years has seen the growth of many of our high-tech businesses and the arrival of others to the town.

“We have gone from being a basket case to being named the Most Enterprising Area in the country.

“Since becoming MP I’ve been promoting manufacturing, proper apprenticeships and proper jobs.

“These high-skilled jobs are where the better wages are and I’m sure we’ll see an increase in the average wage as more of these businesses set up home in Burnley.”

The Burnley Express reported on Tuesday the ongoing work to create a high-tech employment area known as Vision Park in Princess Way, expected to attract more digital jobs.

Trafford in Manchester had the highest average wage in the region of £37,700. The Ribble Valley came in second with £37,600.

Kate Ingram, Burnley Council’s head of Regeneration and Planning Policy, said: “The points in this report are not a surprise to us, and we are aware that whilst employment in the borough has been growing at a faster rate than the average, wages are not keeping pace.

“We are working hard to achieve economic changes.

“Making Burnley a place where more people have good prospects is the reason the council works with the private sector on economic growth and developing employment sites, such as Burnley Bridge and Innovation Drive.

“The Manpower report highlights the fact that wages are growing faster in the manufacturing sector and that is why we have a strong focus on supporting manufacturing growth – Burnley has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the country. It is a key part of Burnley’s strategy to attract manufacturing jobs.

“The reason some parts of the North-West see higher wages than Burnley is because of the number of people who commute to well paid jobs in central Manchester. That’s why Burnley has put effort into improving transport links into the city, to enable people to take up the higher salaries which can be available there.”

The analysis is based on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office of National Statistics.

Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said the Government had a responsibility to ensure that huge pay divides did not open up further across the country.

He said: “Workers in Burnley work just as hard as anywhere else and they deserve better. The divide between the haves and the have nots is getting wider and national government needs to do a lot more to make sure that the benefits of any economic growth across the UK are increasingly felt in towns like Burnley.”