People starting a family should head to Hertfordshire, a new poll suggests, after the county was named the UK’s best place to raise children.
The uSwitch Better Family Life Index graded 138 local authorities on 33 different measures, including GCSE results, broadband speed, pay prospects and levels of sunshine, to find the best places for families.
Hot on Hertfordshire’s heels were Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire, named second and third best places.
The report found that people living in eastern England benefit from higher internet speeds, proximity to local amenities including good schools, and it is also the area of the country where people manage to spend the most time with their families.
Hertfordshire has the third highest employment rate in England, with 81 per cent of 16- to 64-year olds in work, and the average salary is £33,435.
The east of England is also the sunniest area of the country, with an average of four hours, 34 minutes of sunshine every day, compared to three hours, three minutes a day in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Scotland fares least well in the ranking, with East and North Ayrshire at the bottom, an area which suffers higher crime rates, lower exam results, and lower pay with an average salary of £26,962.
It is also the area where locals reportedly get the least sleep in Britain, getting just 6 hours 37 minutes on an average night.
Leicester was the second worst place to bring up a family in Britain, and the worst in England. Researchers noted it has the fourth worst employment rate in the UK as well as fewer primary schools and expensive council tax at £1,599 a year for band D.
Almost half of parents in the UK, 49 per cent, would consider moving to a different area to improve their circumstances, the report said. Meanwhile 43 per cent worry they are not giving their children the best start in life.
Tashema Jackson, uSwitch.com money expert, 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.”
She added: “In the meantime households can take an honest look at their budgets to see if there are any savings they can make to improve their own standard of living.
“Even simple steps such as switching energy or your broadband provider could put hundreds of pounds back into the household kitty.”
Top 10 areas in the uSwitch Better Family Life Index 2016
2. Cambridgeshire CC
3. Central Bedfordshire
9. West Cumbria
10. Calderdale and Kirklees
Bottom ten areas
129. North Lanarkshire
130. Kingston Upon Hull
134. Clackmannanshire and Fife
135. Isle of Wight
136. Glasgow City
138. East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire mainland