30th July 2009

When hosting the judges for the Enterprising Britain Awards we were asked a similar question which encouraged me to do some investigation. NWES was set up to combat the mass redundancies due to the closure of the Pye TV factory in Lowestoft back in 1982. Its successor Sanyo recently closed so where does Lowestoft stand now compared to then?

Looking at the figures for the last few years one can see how the town has performed in comparison to the region and country.

Economically Active – in employment – all people:

Date Number Waveney East England Great Britain

Mar 06 47400 70.6% 77.7% 74.3%

Sep 08 54000 78.3% 77.6% 74.5%

As you can see Waveney has substantially outperformed both the East of England and Great Britain rising from a laggard to being above the national average for economically active people in employment.

Economically Active – Unemployed – all people

Date Number Waveney East England Great Britain

Jan 06 3800 7.3% 4.6% 5.4%

Sep 08 2900 5.1% 4.3% 5.3%

Source: www.nomisweb.co.uk

There is a similar story with the latest unemployed figures; whilst there will always be seasonal fluctuations due to the nature of the area it can be seen that substantial progress has been made, bringing Waveney to below the national average from a position 35% above it some 33 months before.

The most recent figures for those people on Job Seekers Allowance, whilst showing an increase, demonstrate that our policy of job diversification is sheltering Lowestoft from the worst effects of the recession. In the period from January 2008 to May 2009 (latest figures available) Lowestoft has seen a 41% increase in JSA claimants. However in the same period the East of England has seen a 106% rise and Great Britain an 86% rise.

These are impressive results and whilst full employment is always the goal it shows how a policy of diversification and broadening the business base has paid substantial dividends over the years.

Lowestoft with NWES at the helm is now looking to the future positioning itself as the UK base for the rapidly emerging renewables industry – housed at the £10m NWES managed OrbisEnergy. Check out our website for great pictures from the top floor of the most easterly building in Britain!

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