Call for higher wage roles

High Street, Burnham on Sea.

High Street, Burnham on Sea. - Credit: Archant

A PLEA for more high-skilled jobs in Burnham and Highbridge has been made by a town councillor this week.

Councillor Phil Harvey praised the town’s resilience through the tourism sector but warned of an abundance of ‘low-wage, low-skilled jobs’ in the area and said he was hopeful more jobs from other sectors would help boost the towns.

He was speaking at Monday’s meeting of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council in response to Sedgemoor’s new draft of their economic strategy.

Cllr Phil Harvey said: “Tourism is very important for Burnham as stated in the document, with Highbridge more peripheral, and it is very impressive that the number of jobs has increased in Sedgemoor during the recession unlike in many other places.

“But one of the things this report makes clear is that a lot of the jobs created are in low-wage, zero hours or low-skilled roles.

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“That’s through a lot of the tourism sector, so I think we should see whether we can get more high-paid jobs in, which are likely to be in office development.

“We do have the Isleport industrial estate in Highbridge and we made a strong plea to Sedgemoor District Council at a neighbourhood planning meeting to look at allocating part of it for a business park, a high-quality business environment.

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“It was taken very favourably. This town council is in the position where we can influence the situation to bring some high-paid jobs coming into this area.”

Cllr Ken Smout warned that companies may be more likely to choose a Taunton base than be tempted by development in the area.

He said: “We are looking at a lot of that land - but it only works if somebody wants a particular type of industry.

“They might instead think why would they come to this area instead of Taunton. Businesses go there for a good deal.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation, but there has got to be something viable there.”

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