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South West has lowest unemployment rate in UK

Unemployment in the South West has fallen by 10% in the last three months Credit: ITV News

Unemployment in the South West has fallen, and now our region has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Figures out this morning show 113,000 people were out of work between June and August - a drop of over 10 percent on the previous three months. It's in line with the national trend, Unemployment in the UK has fallen to a seven-year low.

Work to begin on Bridgwater hotel

Work is due to start in Bridgwater on a new hotel.

new jobs could be created
total cost of the project
The old Co-Op will be knocked down.

The old Co-Op and other buildings in the Eastover area are to be demolished to make way for the hotel - which will have more than 100 bedrooms.

An impression of the proposed development

The plans were agreed by Sedgemoor District Council in July 2013 - it says the development will transform the area.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership allocated £4.5m of funding from the Growing Places Fund to the development. The fund was designed to create jobs and boost economic growth.


  1. West Country (E)

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.”

South West teens on their employment hopes

The South West has the best employment rate in Great Britain, according to official figures released today.

The total number of people out of work in the region has dropped 3000 in the first three months of the year to 119,000. That's just over 4% of the total workforce.

We've been talking to teenagers at City College Plymouth about their career hopes:

Unemployment falls in the South West

4.3% of people in the region are currently unemployed Credit: ITV News

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.


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.

What does the "strategic alliance" actually mean for Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Police forces?

Devon and Cornwall Police has confirmed that it will pool resources with neighbouring Dorset in what is known as a "strategic alliance".

We spoke with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Police, Tony Hogg, who explained what it means in practice:

West Country police forces agree to work with each other

Two West Country police forces have agreed to work together and share services.

The Police and Crime Commissioners for Devon and Cornwall and Dorset signed the agreement, creating a strategic alliance between the two forces.

Dorset Chief Constable Debbie Simpson and Devon & Cornwall Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer sign the agreeement Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

The aim is to maintain a high standard of policing at a time when budgets are being reduced. It's predicted that the alliance will save at least £12 million.

I am excited to announce that Dorset Police has formally committed to working alongside Devon & Cornwall Police in a strategic alliance.

They are a high performing force with colleagues who share our values, priorities and absolute determination to deliver the best possible service to local people.

Working in alliance with Devon & Cornwall Police will, I’m sure, provide a golden opportunity to achieve the efficiency savings we must make, while maintaining and protecting vital services.

– Debbie Simpson, Dorset Police Chief Constable

The alliance is not a merger of the two forces and both will remain as separate organisations with two Police and Crime Commissioners and two Chief Constables.

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police are natural partners for an alliance. Not only are we similar in terms of our geography and communities, but also in our policing styles. I am delighted to have signed this agreement today.

The coming months and years will be challenging as we look to develop services that work more effectively for communities in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Isles of Scilly. We are determined to make the transition as easy as possible for all those affected – and in particular for our communities who rightly deserve the best possible policing service.

– Devon & Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer
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