Ayrshire 'Worst Place In UK' To Bring Up Family

31 August 2016, 06:19 | Updated: 31 August 2016, 06:20

Hertfordshire is the best place to raise a family in the UK, while East and North Ayrshire are the worst, according to ranking.

Top GCSE grades, good pay and weather, fast broadband and access to GPS placed Hertfordshire at the top of the uSwitch Better Family Life Index of 138 local authorities based on 33 aspects important to family life.

Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire took second and third places respectively, making the top three all in the east of England.

Scotland fared the least well, with East and North Ayrshire suffering the poorest ranking owing to higher crime, lower exam results, lower pay and less time spent with loved ones.

Leicester was ranked worst in England and second from the bottom overall with the fourth worst employment in the UK, fewer primary schools, high council tax and poor exam results.

Almost half of Leicester parents (49%) said they would consider moving to improve their circumstances and 43% said they worried they were not giving their family the best start in life.

Hertfordshire boasts the third highest employment rate in England with 81% of residents aged 16 to 64 in work and earning an average gross salary of £33,435.

The area benefits from fast average broadband download speeds of 38Mbs and is seventh in the UK in exam results, with 64% of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics, the uSwitch report said.

In East and North Ayrshire, 35% of pupils achieve five or more A* to C grade GCSE-equivalents and 67% of those aged 16 to 64 are in employment.

Those living in the region earn an average annual salary of £26,962, while they sleep less than anywhere else in the UK at six hours and 37 minutes a night on average.

Tashema Jackson, uSwitch.com money spokeswoman, said: "The Better Family Life Index shows that life is far from equal for families across the UK. Although there is much to celebrate in many areas, it's not surprising that so many families are thinking about moving to a new region to improve their circumstances.

"For many consumers, the prospect of increased uncertainty in the run-up to Brexit may be a turning point, leading us to re-evaluate both how we manage our household budgets and how we provide stability for our families in the future. Policymakers would do well to follow suit.

"With the new government yet to announce its budgetary priorities it is vital that positive changes are made to help give all families fair opportunities no matter where they live - whether it is access to a good education, childcare, housing, GPs or jobs. Quality of life should not be a postcode lottery.''

The top 10 areas in the uSwitch Better Family Life Index 2016 are:

1. Hertfordshire

2. Cambridgeshire

3. Central Bedfordshire

4. Warrington

5. York

6. Tyneside

7. Norfolk

8. Northumberland

9. West Cumbria

10. Calderdale and Kirklees

The bottom 10 areas are:

129. North Lanarkshire

130. Kingston upon Hull

131. Falkirk

132. Sandwell

133. Nottingham

134. Clackmannanshire and Fife

135. Isle of Wight

136. Glasgow City

137. Leicester

138. East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire mainland