Grantham’s mantra for 2012 must be ‘jobs, jobs, jobs!’

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unemployment figures for the UK make for depressing reading. An increase of 118,000 in the three months to November, with the number of people unemployed and claiming Job Seekers Allowance increasing by 1,200.

The Lincolnshire Research Observatory (LRO) produces a monthly briefing on the labour market in Lincolnshire as well as data analysis on local average wages.

Using this data, I made the following observations:

Grantham has a claimant rate of 3.1 per cent. Below the average for England and Wales – 3.8 per cent.

There has been a 7 per cent increase in claimants since last year in Grantham. (4 per cent in Bourne and a 4 per cent decrease in Stamford).

60 per cent of all unemployed claimants in South Kesteven are in the Grantham area.

This shows that although Grantham is below the England & Wales average for claimants, it is showing a worrying increase.

To counter this, projects to ensure job creation should be pursued, and priority should be given to securing investment in redevelopment that focuses on creating employment, rather than retail in the short-term.

In addition to this, it is important that Grantham looks to create the right jobs to develop our skills base, and drive up the average wage for our area. At the moment, the average wage for South Kesteven workplaces is £22,085 (Source: LRO) which is over £4,340 less than the average for England & Wales. This is the biggest gap since 2006 and shows that the workers of South Kesteven are lagging behind the national average.

So for 2012, the economic development of our town should be of the highest priority. The mantra for development policy and investment should be “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” so Grantham can stop the worrying increases in unemployment, and start to develop new industry.

by David Burling