Fears jobs cannot keep up with population growth
FEARS are growing that future job creation will not come close to keeping pace with population growth.
Figures have revealed the number of new jobs in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury boroughs and Gloucester City increased by only 5,000 in 20 years. And with the population continuing to grow, a tough economic climate, and more than 10,000 people unemployed in the county, serious doubts have been raised about the future.
Cheltenham Borough Council leader Steve Jordan said: "One of the points I have been raising is that for the last 20 years, between 1991 and 2011, there has been an increase of 5,000 jobs in the area. The figures from the Joint Core Strategy suggest 27,000 jobs will be needed in the next 20 years, which would be an increase of 600 per cent."
A meeting of Tewkesbury Borough Council heard that the number of jobs needed could be between 15,500 and 27,000, depending on two different projections made by separate groups of analysts.
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Even if the lesser amount turns out to be correct, it would mean the three areas would still need to generate more than three times the number of jobs created in the last 20 years.
Councillor Jim Mason (C, Winchcombe) said: "Where are these jobs coming from? We've already got a considerable number of unemployed people in Gloucestershire."
Also concerned was Councillor Brian Calway (C, Tewkesbury Prior's Park), who told a JCS representative: "You're assuming there will be economic growth but because of the recession, that has to be questioned."
The latest figures, published in September, showed unemployment had risen in the county for the first time in six months with 10,310 claiming JobSeekers' Allowance.
There were 2,377 unemployed people in Cheltenham, 1,138 in Tewkesbury and 3,190 in Gloucester. There were 762 in the Cotswolds, 1,364 in the Forest of Dean and 1,479 in Stroud.
Chris Dee, of the Gloucestershire economic partnership GFirst, said Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership would work to "provide an informed economic view over the next few months".
The Joint Core Strategy is looking at housing development for the three areas up to 2031. The total population for the three areas in 1991 was 275,423. Now, it is up to 319,300 and figures presented to the JCS team suggest that the total could increase by up to a further 44,700 by 2031.