NEWS that manufacturing wages are rising faster than those elsewhere in the economy has been welcomed as good for East Lancashire and its young apprentices.

MPs Gordon Birtwistle and Lindsay Hoyle said a survey for the engineering and manufacturing employers' organisation EEF was a positive sign for local firms and workers.

It found pay in the sector rose by 2.6 per cent over the past year while wages have been stagnant or falling in other industries.

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mike Damms said: “This is positive news for the local economy.

“It shows that manufacturing, vital to us, is on the up.

“Skills will soon become in demand and young people in apprenticeships and training for manufacturing will benefit in the long run.”

Mr Birtwistle said: “This is obviously good news for East Lancashire’s manufacturing-based economy and its workers.

“It shows skills are in demand and being paid for.

“It should encourage young people to go for apprenticeships and training giving them the skiils which fast-developing engineering and technology need.”

Labour’s MP Lyndsay Hoyle said: “This is good news for those in manufacturing but we need wages for those working in other sectors, like the NHS, to catch up.”

The rise compares with figures showing wages overall fell by 0.2 per cent over the past three months despite RPI inflation running at 2.5 per cent.

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: "After many challenging years, manufacturers are also now literally paying their employees back for their support to keep jobs and businesses going.”