Government figures reveal huge regional difference in UK quality of life

From house prices to life expectancy, the latest statistics show disparities between UK regions

A baby in the South-east of England can expect on average to live between two and three year years longer than his or her contemporary in the North-west.

But there will be some consolation as the North-west youngster grows older – a typical house in the region costs little more than half a property 200 miles to the south.

Deep divisions between the English regions and between four parts of the UK were revealed yesterday in the latest detailed snapshot of the country from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

It underlines London’s role as Britain’s economic powerhouse, generating one-fifth of the country’s output. It is also the youngest part of the UK, with a median age of 34 years compared with just under 40 for the nation as a whole.

The North-east of England has a 10.3 per cent unemployment rate against an average of 7.8 per cent across the UK. The region has the lowest house prices in England, although the UK’s lowest are in Northern Ireland.

Reflecting its popularity as a retirement location, the South-west has the country’s highest median age (42.9 years), as well as some of the lowest crime rates in England.

The highest proportion of unqualified adults is to be found in the West Midlands – 13.6 per cent compared with 9.5 per cent across England.

Yorkshire and the Humber was the only English region where house prices dropped last year, falling by 0.2 per cent compared with an average surge of eight per cent in the value of London properties.

The revealed that traffic on Scotland’s major roads increased by 5.8 per cent over the last decade, the largest rise in the country, and that population growth in Wales was lower than the UK average.

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