Hertfordshire: The UK’s best place to raise a family

Hertfordshire is the best place to raise a family in the UK, reveals new research. The first Better Family Life Index from uSwitch compares 138 local authorities on 33 factors important to family life, with top GCSE grades, good pay and weather, close proximity to GPs and fast broadband all pushing Hertfordshire to the top of the heap.

Hertfordshire boasts the third highest employment rate in England with 81 per cent of residents aged 16-64 in work and earning a healthy average gross salary of £33,435. The area benefits from average broadband download speeds of 38Mbs and is seventh in the UK in exam results, with 64 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades at GCSE including English and Mathematics.

Cambridgeshire is ranked second in the Index, with 80 per cent of those aged 16-64 in the area employed and high average annual pay of £32,761. Central Bedfordshire takes third place with low levels of young people not in employment, education or training and just 4 per cent of children in workless households.
All top three regions, situated in the East of England, benefit from their close proximity to local amenities; it takes residents an average of just nine minutes to get to their GP and just under 10 minutes to reach their local primary school – compared to the average of almost 12 minutes.

Second from bottom and ranked worst in England is Leicester with fourth worst employment in UK, fewer primary schools, high council tax and poor exam results. East & North Ayrshire mainland comes bottom of the rankings with higher crime rates (115 crimes per 1,000 residents), poorer exam results with just 35 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grade GCSE-equivalents and just 67 per cent of those aged 16-64 in employment. Those living in the region also earn less, with an average annual salary of £26,962.

Tashema Jackson, uSwitch.com money expert, says: “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.”

Photo: JackPeasePhotography