Challenges facing Great Yarmouth

Yarmouth and river Great Yarmouth has high levels of long-term unemployment

Great Yarmouth has one of the lowest proportions of highly qualified workers in England and very low earnings, research for the BBC has found.

The Experian study also found that the Broadland area of Norfolk has high levels of long-term unemployment.

Because it is made of a large number of smaller firms it has a lower reliance on government contracts.

The research was carried out to look at how resilient England's 324 council areas are to economic shocks.

Because of Broadland's number of small businesses, it should not be hit too hard by any cuts in public sector spending, the chamber of commerce said.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said that although it was true Great Yarmouth had its problems, it also had great opportunities in growing its renewable energy sector.

Improving standards

She said the county was in a good position to cope with cuts in public spending.

"Because we have a large number of small businesses which don't have large government contracts, we'll probably be effected slightly less than other areas," she said.

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But the problem faced by the county was to "convince the government to support growth" in the county.

Ms Williams said a key issue in the county was the need for high-speed broadband to help businesses compete on an international level.

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Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, said the county was working to improve standards.

"We have been working closely with Norfolk's schools, sixth forms and colleges to help raise attainment and aspirations in the Great Yarmouth area," she said.

"In Great Yarmouth, performance at GCSE is close to the national average and has been improving at a faster rate than nationally over the last four years.

"The proportion of young people gaining five A* to C, including English and maths has risen at double the rate it has nationally, improving by eight percentage points in Yarmouth and four across the rest of the country.

"We also have very strong sixth form and college provision in the area, which is crucial in raising skills and qualifications."

On BBC Radio Norfolk from 0900 BST on Friday, Nick Conrad will be hosting a debate on the State of the Region.

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