December 30, 2016
Burnham-On-Sea MP's concern over ageing population in our area

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey has spoken out about his concern that the area is not attracting enough 'working age people' to settle here.

He says the Wells constituency - which includes the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area - is experiencing a growing ageing population that needs to be supported by an ever smaller pool of working age people.

Mr Heappey explained: "For all the jobs that have been created locally, we are still not attracting enough working age people to come and settle in our area. The result is an ageing population needing to be supported by an ever smaller pool of working age people."

"This, combined with significantly reduced local government budgets, has meant that provision for adult social care has reached a critically low level."

"The solution I suspect Government will offer is the freedom to increase council tax to meet this need. I will welcome that freedom but I will also ask what it is that Government will do to help us build the houses and develop the infrastructure to attract the working age people we need to keep the demographic in our area in balance."

He continued: "In the last year, we have lost too many employers because they could not recruit sufficient people to maintain their business in our area."

"Infant school head teachers are worrying not about over-crowding but about where the two-year-olds are that they need to fill their classes in the year after next."

"And our GP practises will tell you that, yes, there is a challenge in recruiting doctors, but also that the proportion of over-65s on their books means their workload is far higher than should be the case for that number of patients in an area where the demographic is more balanced."

Mr Heappey added: "Somerset is a popular place to retire. We should celebrate that but so too must we be honest about the challenge that presents to our local authorities."

"Meeting the cost of adult social care through a temporary increase in council tax cannot be the full answer."

"Growing Somerset’s economy so that the working age population is more productive and more in proportion with the population as a whole is."


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