A JOBS taskforce is being set up to tackle redundancies in Dursley, Cam and Berkeley.

Stroud District Council (SDC) announced plans to bring together agencies and local bodies to tackle job losses in the area – of which there have been around 150 this year.

“In employment terms our district has fared better than some during the economic downturn but there have been pockets of concentrated job losses,” said SDC leader Geoff Wheeler.

“There have been a number of recent announcements about job losses, including skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs, in this part of our district."

The announcement comes a month after a leading union figure described Dursley and Cam as a “jobs black spot,” after dealing with the fallout with redundancies from Dursley manufacturing firm Lister Petter and food company Kerry Group’s factory in Cam.

The taskforce will bring together Unite, JobCentre Plus, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and will seek to protect jobs, help retrain those affected by redundancy and create firm foundations for future jobs in the area.

The council said it will be in touch with local town and parish councils in the weeks ahead for their involvement.

Cllr Wheeler added: “There is much scope for optimism. The potential for the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear Skills Centre to make the most of the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities at Berkeley by building skills in nuclear and green and low carbon sectors is a great example of what lies ahead.

"With the appropriate agencies working together we will build a comprehensive, dynamic and hands-on plan to ensure that the area prospers for many more years into the future.”

The announcement came as Stroud MP Neil Carmichael defended his self-titled project to stimulate investment in the Dursley and Berkeley areas.

Local councillors, including Dursley's Stephen Lydon, had questioned what the Carmichael Commission offered practically.

The project has ambitions of boosting the economic fortunes of Sharpness Docks and building a bridge across the River Severn to Lydney.

Mr Carmichael told the Gazette: “It’s all about exploring opportunities to improve infrastructure and to stimulate economic growth.

"We have a core membership of four and are looking to expand. What we want are people that are interests in economic growth and enthusiastic about the prospects in the areas.”

"We’re going to produce a report, probably in the autumn, which will pave the way for change. It’s going to contribute to the debate about our infrastructure.”

The new taskforce and the commission both meet this month.