Ipswich's impressive employment levels

EMPLOYMENT rates in Ipswich are among the best in the country, but pay levels, education levels and employment growth are lagging behind, it emerged today.

EMPLOYMENT rates in Ipswich are among the best in the country, but pay levels, education levels and employment growth are lagging behind, it emerged today.

A new report from the researchers Centre for Cities shows Suffolk's county town has the third highest employment rate in the UK; 80.9per cent.

However, employees are paid nearly £80 per week less than the national average and nearly one in five people do not have a single GCSE qualification.

Overall Ipswich is ranked as a having medium levels of deprivation, as are Peterborough and Luton, while Norwich and Cambridge are marked as having low levels of deprivation.

A spokeswoman for Centre for Cities said the figures gave a snapshot of Ipswich's economy and showed it was doing extremely well in employment levels but could improve elsewhere.

She said: “The main thing for Ipswich is it is doing brilliantly for employment rates. Now it needs to maintain its success.

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“With employment growth it is a lot further down, probably because it started from quite a strong basis.

“Overall it is quite a good picture but there is definitely room for improvement.”

Richard Atkins, Ipswich Borough councillor responsible for planning and economic development, said: “We are delighted about the employment figures. We have a tremendous amount going for us when we try to attract jobs.

“Because the employment is high it makes it harder to have employment growth.

“The fact there are low earnings and qualifications are reasons why we decided to give the land for the formation of the university here.

“It is not an overnight solution but what we have seen is there are so many students who go off to university and don't return.

“Having a university will see more people going on to further education.

“My hope is that by backing the university will we have found the cure to these particular problems. We have to be part of the knowledge economy.”

Ipswich is counted as a city in the survey because it has a population of more than 125,000.

n How do you think Ipswich's economy is faring? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Ipswich's economy in figures

80.9 - the employment rate in Ipswich, the third highest rate in the UK after Aldershot and Gloucester and already higher than the government's long-term target of 80pc

£462.70 - the average wage per week in Ipswich. The national average is £540.50, putting Ipswich 44th out of 59 cities

£46.30 - the average rise in wages between 2002 and 2006, just 3.3pc, putting Ipswich fifth bottom for earnings growth in 59 cities

16 - the percentage of people on benefits in Ipswich compared with a national average of 15pc, ranking Ipswich 27th of 59 cities

19 - the percentage of people with no qualifications compared to a national average of 14pc, ranking Ipswich 48th of 59 cities

8,600 - the increase in the number of jobs in Ipswich between 1995 and 2005, ranking it 34th of 59 cities

SOURCE: Centre for Cities

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