Wages are falling in Basildon due to the number of low skilled jobs and there are fears that many could be lost due to new developments in technology.

While the rest of the UK has seen their salaries rise by as much as 9 per cent Basildon has seen theirs drop by 4 per cent, a council report has revealed.

The report says the problem is largely down to many of the jobs in the borough being low skilled and within sectors such as retail, financial services and manual labour.

It goes on to warn that up to 20 per cent of all of these jobs could be lost as new technologies are developed such as machine automation. It is expected that they will be replaced by fewer higher skilled jobs.

To counter this, the council has allocated £2million to support business initiatives that will ensure new sectors of employment will be available to residents.

The report states: “Basildon has become a magnet for companies within future sectors such as Information and communications technology and digital, with a 183 per cent growth in the last five years.

“Creating space and facilities for this sector to grow further is the key to address the negative effects of automation by providing an alternative employment sector for employees impacted by automation to move into.

“It is important that local residents have the ability to access these new jobs.”

The funds include £750,000 going towards on an “innovation warehouse”, which is part of a bid from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to convert the Green Centre to the south of the A13 into a warehouse full of specialist equipment linked to science, technology, engineering and maths.

A “digi hub” will also be created, which the council describes as a working space for micro businesses in the information and communications technology sector, offering business support, mentoring and grants.

It will be located in the town centre and “replace reduced retail” – the council has not confirmed how much of the £2million will go towards this.

Additionally, small businesses will get financial support through a newly established grant fund of £100,000 and advice from an “advice store” which will have a budget of £50,000.

These initiatives are expected to be given the greenlight by the council’s Economic Development and Growth Committee next week.