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By Ian Dipple Thursday 02 January 2014 Updated: 02/01 12:37
THE QUALITY of life for Redditch residents has fallen further in the last 12 months with people less satisfied with their lives than elsewhere in the UK.
For the second year running the borough has slipped down the quality of life index produced by the Halifax bank, falling from 114th to 182nd place in the country, fifth out of the six districts in the county and 15th out of 24 in the West Midlands. Only Worcester is seen as delivering a poorer quality of life for residents.
The research ranks council areas on a range of indicators including jobs, the housing market, education, health and crime as well as the weather, traffic flows and broadband access.
Although Redditch scores highly in some areas the key factors considered are those around health, wealth and happiness and on these indicators the borough is still lagging behind most of the region.
Residents earn the second lowest average weekly wage in the West Midlands at £514 - up only £7 on the previous year.
The employment rate has also fallen over the last 12 months from 81.5 per cent to 78.4 per cent.
Redditch residents will also live more than two years less than Stratford, the best place to live in the West Midlands.
People in Redditch are also less satisfied with their lives, are less happy and believe they are less worthwhile than the UK average, but are not as anxious as those living in other parts of the country.
Only 27 per cent of the adult population has a degree or equivalent qualification, compared to 45 per cent in Stratford and over 46 per cent in Malvern, ranked as the best place to live in Worcestershire.
However it is not all doom and gloom as Redditch has a lower crime rate than many areas and amongst the best access to broadband in the West Midlands.
Council leader Bill Hartnett said he felt the data gave a false impression of the town but it appeared there was a good case for local and national government to spend more money improving the quality of life for Redditch residents.
"I'm very proud of Redditch and we had the Pride of Redditch awards recently with 67 nominations so people in Redditch are very proud of the town," he said.
"There's a strong, positive community spirit in the town and a lot of things going on.
"To those who see this data I would say come to Redditch and ask people what they think of it. People in Redditch are talking Redditch up because they know it is a great place to live and work."
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