Conference on wages and well-being in Weymouth and Portland

Weymouth & Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW)

32 Canberra Crescent

Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6AQ

To: Richard Drax MP; Sir Oliver Letwin MP; Leader, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council; Leader, Dorset County Council; Leader, West Dorset District Council; Chief Executive, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council; Chief Executive, Dorset County Council; Chief Executive, Dorset Councils Partnership; Regional Secretary, South-West TUC

30 May 2018

Dear MPs, Councillors and Executives,

Conference on wages and well-being in Weymouth and Portland

Concern about the economy, wages and well-being in Weymouth and Portland is now widespread. After months of negative news about local wage rates, housing, health, education and social mobility there is deep concern about prospects for the area.

Although W&P is not unique in the UK in experiencing such problems, the trajectory is worrying. It seems that clustering of serious economic and social problems is producing a “multiplier effect” and continuing decline.

Since Weymouth and Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW) was established in 2017 we have encountered many residents and employees in W&P increasingly anxious about the future for their families. There is a common perception that “things have never been so bad”, that W&P is a “forgotten town” and that there are few signs of new initiatives for the area.

Some elected representatives and officials respond with denial, asserting that the real picture is much brighter. They have failed, however, to provide evidence of significant economic or social advance. In this situation we propose to organise a conference at which key issues will be open to discussion and policies for change can be examined with maximum public involvement. We invite you to join us in this initiative.

We have in mind a one-day conference at which elected political representatives, local officials, independent academics and members of local organisations, trade unions, charities, churches and faith groups share their experiences and consider strategies for change. This will differ from the usual policy forums by encouraging maximum public discussion on a number of themes. These might include:

  • wages, work and the local economy;
  • health, welfare and well-being;
  • affordable housing and the rental sector;
  • young people, education and social mobility;
  • transportation – costs, access, adequacy;
  • culture and community.

One outcome of the conference might be a proposal to the incoming Unitary Authority for priority initiatives and the establishment of a working group to monitor progress.

We have in mind a conference in late November, giving good time to present our views to the incoming Authority. Please join us in a preliminary discussion about timing, agendas, speakers and a venue. We would appreciate your initial response by Friday 29 June: please do reply to:

Many thanks and all best wishes,

Philip Marfleet