Economic highs and lows over decade

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A new report has painted a mixed picture on the progress of Burnley and Pendle’s socio-economic activity over the last decade.

The latest Cities Outlook 2015 report has highlighted the areas’ achievement in terms of creating new manufacturing jobs – but failures in terms of education, employment and a drop in real wages.

But town hall chiefs said the figures painted a “skewed” picture and stressed that the last four years have seen the area make huge strides in terms of jobs and businesses moving in.

Burnley Borough Council’s acting chief executive Mick Cartledge said: “Those challenges were the reason there has been so much focus on businesses and the council working together.

“Over the last few years, that strategy has paid off. Burnley has seen real and ongoing successes in attracting investment and growth.”

• Between 2009 and 2013, the jobs growth rate in Burnley was 7.1%, well above both the North-West average across those four years of 0.6%, and the national rate of growth of 2%.

• Between 2009 and 2013 the private sector jobs growth rate also rose well above North-West and national averages, with Burnley’s growth standing at 6%, against the NW growth figure of 2.9% and the GB figure of 4.1%.

The report shows that changes in real wages in Burnley and Pendle dropped by £39 a week or 9.2% – the biggest drop of the areas covered.

However, between 2005 and 2014 the area saw a wage increase of 17.2%.

Employment in 2014 was said to stand at 66,800 or 62.1% of the working age population.

Burnley Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “Any report that confirms the importance of investment in skills and jobs is helpful, whichever statistics they pick out from whatever time period.

“Although the report covers a 10 year period, our success over the last four years demonstrates the importance of the council and our partners on bringing quality jobs here and supporting our businesses.

“There are bigger issues raised here. Government needs to do more to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are felt in the North-West and other northern regions.

“We will continue to deliver projects to generate jobs growth. This year will see the ongoing development of aerospace supply park Innovation Drive, the launch of Vision Park, next to the university and college campus; and in May direct rail services to Manchester will commence.

“Burnley and Pendle’s impressive sites and infrastructure puts us in an excellent position to attract further investment.”