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Mixed messages about Cumbrian economy

There has been mixed reports on the state of the Cumbrian economy.

Businesses say they believe the county is on the road to recovery.

Many firms are reporting that they're more optimistic than at any time since the recession began.

But that optimism seems to be at odds with the experience of many workers, who still say they are facing tough times and seeing little sign of improvement.

Those in the public sector seem to be hardest hit.

The union, UNISON, says across the North West of England 40,000 jobs have gone since 2012.

They say that's seven per cent of public sector jobs.

So is the economy turning a corner or is there more hardship ahead?

Tim Backshall has this special report:

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Cumbria's economy 'on road to recovery' say businesses

Businesses in Cumbria say they believe the county's economy is on the road to recovery, while some MPs and individuals think there's still a long way to go.

Many firms are reporting that they're more optimistic than at any time since the recession began with some now beginning to take on extra staff.

David Durnford is the Managing Director of Motive Technology:

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MP asks for help from local organisations

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has invited a number of local organisations to come together and help find a way of creating more employment in the area.

Members from Dumfries and Galloway Council, the UK Government Department of Work and Pensions and Chambers of Commerce are attending a jobs summit in Dumfries after Mr Brown raised concerns over the state of the local economy.

Mr Brown said:

"Amidst all the national debate over whether the UK economy is or is not growing again, what is clear is there has been a seismic decline in the local economy over the past two years, which has seen unemployment rise above the rest of UK and average wages plummet.

"The UK Government often argues that the loss of public sector jobs isn't a problem, because up to a million private sector jobs have been created across the UK to replace them.

"However, when you analyse those figures closely you see that in Dumfries and Galloway the number of private sector jobs is actually falling, and this is on top of the huge cuts in jobs in the public sector such as the council.

"Our region is losing well paid jobs in manufacturing on an almost weekly basis at the moment, and what jobs are being created tend to be lower paid, hence the fact that average wages are also on the decline locally."

– Russell Brown MP, Dumfries and Galloway, Labour

Dumfries MP fears for local economy

Russell Brown MP, Dumfries and Galloway, Labour Credit: ITV News Border

A Dumfriesshire MP is holding a cross-party jobs summit after raising serious concerns over the state of the local economy.

Russell Brown said that south-west Scotland is heading towards becoming an "economic basket case", with falling wages and high unemployment levels.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that Dumfries and Galloway is now the lowest paid region in Scotland, with the average weekly earnings of just £400 (by workplace).

This falls short in comparison to the Scottish average of £497.60 and the UK average of £507.60.

The region has also seen a fall in earnings since 2010 at a time the Scottish and UK average earnings have increased.

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