‘14,500 jobs lost across Fylde coast’

Lagging behind? The former Norcross DWP offices. Below ' Duncan Griffiths, secretary of the Fylde branch of the PCS, and Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden
Lagging behind? The former Norcross DWP offices. Below ' Duncan Griffiths, secretary of the Fylde branch of the PCS, and Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden
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The Fylde coast has lost 14,500 jobs in 10 years and is lagging behind regions in the south when it comes to growth, a report published today warns.

While the number of jobs in London increased by 17.1 per cent between 2004 and 2013, a fall of nearly 11 per cent was seen across the three local authority areas of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre according to the Centre for Cities’ 2015 Cities Outlook.

PCS Union representatives, Branch Chairman Duncan Griffiths (left) and Branch Secretary Martin Jones, outside the Norcross Civil service building after a strike was called over proposed job cuts. / civil service

PCS Union representatives, Branch Chairman Duncan Griffiths (left) and Branch Secretary Martin Jones, outside the Norcross Civil service building after a strike was called over proposed job cuts. / civil service

It reveals an increasingly widening gap between Britain’s best and worst-performing cities.

The Fylde is ranked 61 out of 64 cities and urban areas analysed to provide an economic health-check.

The study, reveals national growth between 2004 and 2013 was largely driven by only a handful of cities, mainly located in the south which have seen their populations boom, their number of businesses grow and thousands of new jobs created.

At the same time in other cities, migration of young and skilled workers, a lack of business growth and falling employment opportunities have led their economies to contract.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

The study also shows the Blackpool and Fylde area saw a decrease in business stock of five per cent over the 10-year period, average weekly wages in 2014 were £468 which is up £44 from the previous year, and the average house price last year was £149,400.

Duncan Griffiths, secretary of the Fylde branch of the PCS civil service union, said he was not suprised at the findings.

He said: “Over the last 10 years we have lost around 3,000 jobs in the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and the civil service in the Blackpool and Fylde area.

“Moorland Road has closed and the DWP offices at Norcross closed and are now demolished.

“This study paints a picture of a 10-year period over which we have been experiencing large scale reductions start to kick in.

“I do think the Government has to look at the economic prospects of areas of the country like the Fylde in terms of job creation.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “Big cities are prospering at the expense of towns and cities that are smaller or are at the end of the line which is the case with seaside towns.

“We need to get the Government to focus on the issues of particular types of towns, and we need to find a formula which recognises the impact of our visitors on services such as the police and health.

“But I am more optimistic because the direction of travel in Government is to top slice Whitehall funding and transfer it to the regions through the local enterprise partnerships.

“And Blackpool has to make sure it gets its share of that funding.”

Andrew Carter, acting chief executive, Centre for Cities, said: “Cities need long-term funding and strategic planning, and policies that go to the heart of addressing the key drivers of economic growth – including transport, planning, skills and housing.”