Weymouth and Portland has the lowest average weekly wages in the country, new statistics reveal.

The rate is just £282.90 a week according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The average weekly pay for the area fell by a whopping 8.3 per cent last year.

The average weekly wage in Weymouth and Portland is £25 below the next worst – Rother, near Sheffield.

The stark figures come as council chiefs and other partners try to improve the borough's fortunes through a programme of regeneration. Some of the borough's wards are among the most deprived in the country.

Andrew Knowles from Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce said the figures are "challenging news" for the community.

He said: "However, there are some great employers in Weymouth and Portland, that are committed to paying good wages and supporting the career aspirations of their workers. 

"We need employers like these, and the chamber is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and helping businesses grow in order to provide more jobs that pay better."

Weyforward, a community group set to help drive regeneration, is trying to introduce a Weymouth Basic Income scheme.

Jason West from Weyforward said: "These figures show more than ever that our plans to create a Weymouth Basic Income are essential. 

"A question that needs to be asked is why is Weymouth and Portland paying the lowest wages in the country?

"We also have one of the highest levels of deprivation too. More needs to be done to help people in our area, we can't go on like this."

He added: "Currently we are trying to raise money for the scheme, we need £1million over five years. We are in ongoing discussions with the council and the LEP. 

"What is being done at the moment is not working and is not enough."

When taking inflation into account, south west workers are still £38 a week worse off than they were before the financial crash, according to the TUC.

The ONS figures show that for the year to April 2017 real wages in the region were 8.5 per cent below their 2008 level.

Nationally, inflation has overtaken wage growth for the last six months, so the South West TUC is concerned that next year could be even worse. 

TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley said: “Most families still haven’t recovered from the financial crash, yet their pay packets are now taking another hammering. 

"It’s leaving working people facing hardship and getting deeper into debt. Weymouth and Portland seems stuck in an economy that can only offer poor pay and the failure of government to address the pay squeeze has left communities feeling abandoned.

“Public sector workers have had it especially hard, with real pay cuts for seven long years. The Chancellor must use next month’s budget to give them the pay rise they’ve earned.

“He should also use the budget to help bring great jobs to the south west, by investing in skills and infrastructure. And he must help low-paid workers by raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.”