Ipswich can survive recession - report

IPSWICH is reasonably well-placed to weather the current financial storm, a national study claimed today.

IPSWICH is reasonably well-placed to weather the current financial storm, a national study claimed today.

Research conducted by Centre for Cities has warned a number of towns and cities are particularly exposed to the downturn, including Belfast, Liverpool, Wigan and Hull, because of the number of residents who are unemployed or have no qualifications.

However, the report found that Ipswich had strengths which should ensure the town avoids the worst effects of the recession.

Ipswich was found to enjoy high levels of employment - 80.8per cent compared to the UK average of 74.5pc.

Encouragingly, researchers also found that Ipswich did not have a high concentration of employment in any of the three key areas of construction, financial services or hotels and restaurants, which are likely to be hit hardest by the recession.

In relation to residents' skills, 12pc of the population have no qualifications compared to a 13pc UK average.

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However, only 22pc have high level qualifications, lower than the 29pc average.

The report also found that weekly earnings in the town were relatively low - �404.20 compared to the UK average of �475.30

Benefits claimants were slightly above the national average - 15.1pc in Ipswich compared to 13.9pc in the UK.

Paul Clement, director of Ipswich Central, admitted Ipswich had to brace itself for recession.

“It's silly for us to think we can ride this out and not be affected,” he said.

“We have already seen a change in our retail line-up, with the loss of Woolworths and Zavvi.

“However, the likes of Axa and Willis have pledged their long-term future to the town.”

Mr Clement said University Campus Suffolk, which only opened in September 2007, would help to significantly increase the numbers of residents with high level qualifications.

Dermot Finch, director of the Centre for Cities, said: “UK cities will be hit harder than they think by this recession.

“Nearly all say they are well-placed to weather the storm - but they can't all be right.

“The recession will hit our cities in different ways - and some will be hit worse than others.”

Have you fallen victim to the economic downturn? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk