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Fears for jobs at Somerset paper mill

Staff at the Wansbrough Paper Mill in Watchet have been told the mill could close this December.

It is a major employer in West Somerset with around 170 workers.

It is owned by DS Smith, a lead supplier of paper and packaging across Europe.

DS Smith has released a statement about the proposal:

“Following a review of the long term economic outlook for the Wansbrough paper mill, today we announced to employees at the mill that we are proposing to close Wansbrough Mill and are entering a period of consultation with employee representatives. The process will take into account all possible options for the future of the site.

"This announcement in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of our employees who continue to support our business.

"We will work closely with Union and employee representatives throughout the consultation process to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further until the completion of the consultation process.”

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Employers compete as jobs market improves

There were plenty of vacancies at this job fair in Bristol Credit: ITV News

Some employers have told ITV News they're fighting to compete for the highest calibre candidates as the job market in the West continues to improve.

The latest unemployment figures are due out later with some companies at this jobs fair in Bristol struggling to fill some vacancies.

The NHS and police were among employers offering jobs to some of the 800 visitors to The Galleries shopping centre yesterday.

Hospitality care, the hospital sector - there are massive shortages. Got two hospitals here today very keen to get temporary staff in and then convert them to full time staff later on.

– Chris Mitchell, Bristol City Council

Life after redundancy: the Swindon man making it as an artist

The first jobs figures since the election have been released today showing the South West has the highest employment rate in the country.

One man who has managed to get back into work is Nathan Pegler from Swindon. He was made redundant by Honda and used the opportunity to start up his own business as an artist:

Unemployment falls in the South West

3000 more people are in work since December 2014 Credit: PA

The total number of unemployed people in the South West has fallen by 3000 for the first three months of 2015.

119,000 people are currently out of work in the region, 4.3% of the total population, according to the ONS.

Nationally, unemployment is at a seven-year low of 1.83 million, down 35,000 from the previous quarter.

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South West bucks national trend as unemployment figures rise

The South West was the only region to see a rise in unemployment Credit: PA

The number of people out of work in the South West has risen in the last quarter - the only region to see a rise in Great Britain.

The South West has bucked the national trend, with the figures revealing unemployment has gone up by 7,000 to 126,000 in the three months to Feb 2015 - an increase of 4.6%.

But, despite the numbers, our region continues to have one of the highest employment rates with 76.8% in work.

More than a third are paid less than the living wage

More than 1 in 3 people in the region earn less than a living wage Credit: PA

Kingswood in South Gloucestershire has the highest number of people earning below the living wage in the South West.

More than half of its population are paid less than the amount deemed necessary to live on - which is currently set at £7.85 an hour.

According to the Trades Union Congress, more than a third of jobs in the region pay a lower wage than this.

Wiltshire man is named Apprentice of the Year

Steven Davey has been named Apprentice of the Year Credit: Federation of Master Builders

Steven Davey from Staverton in Wiltshire has won the title of Apprentice of the Year.

He received the award - and a cheque for £1,000 - at the Federation of Master Builders Awards in London yesterday. The 25-year-old carpentry apprentice studied at Swindon College and now works for Chippenham-based Stonewood Builders.

The South West has the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country

The South West has the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country, new figures show.

According to The Office for National Statistics, the number of people without jobs went down by seven thousand between October and December. A total of 122 thousand people were out of work in the South West - a rate of 4.5 percent.

The South West has got the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country. Unemployment's gone down on the year by 50,000 and long term unemployment, people who've gone on the work programme there, 20,000 fewer since June 2011, so again, it really is seeing transformational change in that area.

– Esther McVey, Employment Minister

See the full interview with Ester McVey below:

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