Big Suffolk salary differences revealed

WORKERS in one part of Suffolk are earning £124 less each week than those living in a neighbouring area, a survey has revealed.

Dave Gooderham

WORKERS in one part of Suffolk are earning £124 less each week than those living in a neighbouring area, a survey has revealed.

Staff in the Waveney district are, on average, the lowest earners in the county while those in Suffolk Coastal are the highest.

Concerned community leaders last night pointed to a “skills gap” across Suffolk as a reason for poor pay and said addressing the problems must be a major priority.


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Dr Wil Gibson, chief executive of rural campaign group Suffolk ACRE, said: “It is a tough economic time for everyone and we are aware that there is a significantly low-pay feature in the county.

“We believe a lot of this is down to skills as Suffolk still tends to be a low-skilled economy which impacts on wages. This is something which must be addressed straight away.”

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But Dr Gibson believes that higher wages in Suffolk Coastal might have been influenced by workers commuting to London and enjoying greater salaries - and the fact that Martlesham Heath-based BT was a major employer.

The 2007 figures from the Suffolk Observatory website, part of the Suffolk Development Agency (SDA), relate to gross weekly pay for full-time employers and show that workers in Waveney earn £410 a week. Top of the pile are staff living in the Forest Heath and Suffolk Coastal areas who earn £520 and £534 respectively.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee said: “Obviously it is disappointing that the average wage in Waveney is as low as stated by the Observatory's figures.

“We hope the area's regeneration plan will see better-paid jobs in the area - this is something the council is committed to.

“We see this as a long term issue and not something that can just be resolved but it is certainly a priority and it links to other aspects such as education and health care.”

AVERAGE EARNINGS IN SUFFOLK 2007

Gross weekly pay Annual gross pay hourly pay

Babergh 477 24,804 11.76

Forest Heath 520 27,040 12.83

Ipswich 513 26,676 12.84

Mid Suff 436 22,672 10.48

St Eds 466 24,232 11.47

Suff Coastal 534 27,768 12.61

Waveney 410 21,320 10.05

Source: Suffolk Observatory

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