Reasons to move to Wales? Well there's the healthcare, the house prices, the ... - Home News - UK - The Independent

Reasons to move to Wales? Well there's the healthcare, the house prices, the ...

Tom Peck weighs up the advantages of life on the other side of Offa's Dyke

Possible tax advantages aside, just how alluring is life beyond the Severn Bridge?

The healthcare is better, for a start. The NHS in Wales spends more per person than in England, just over £2,000 compared with £1,900. Prescriptions are free, too, while in England there is a £7.65 charge. This, and free hospital parking, persuaded the picturesque village of Audlem, nine miles from the Welsh border, to hold an online referendum on whether to secede from England and join Wales. Sixty per cent of residents voted yes. But the picture is a little more complicated. That extra NHS spending is forecast to finish by 2014. Wales also has fewer GPs, slightly shorter life expectancies, and patients visit hospital more often and stay longer.

Another factor in Wales's favour: cheaper housing. House prices have fallen by £2,000 in the past year, to a national average of £153,299. The average for the UK as a whole is £238,293.

The country is also peppered with areas of outstanding beauty. In January Swansea's Rhossili Bay was voted the third-best beach in Europe on the travel website Tripadvisor, beating competition from Greece and Sardinia. The three-mile stretch of white sand on the Gower Peninsula was the UK's top-rated destination.

The 870-mile-long All Wales Coast Path, a government scheme costing £10m, was opened last year, running from Chepstow in the south right the way around to Queensferry in Flintshire. Its completion means Wales is the only country in the world with a footpath covering its entire coastline. Lonely Planet called the Welsh coastline "the greatest region on Earth to visit" last year, ahead of some of the world's most famous destinations.

"What a wonderful thing: to walk the entire length of a country's coastline, to trace its every nook, cranny, cliff-face, indent and estuary," the Lonely Planet writer Sarah Baxter said. "How better to truly appreciate the shape – and soul – of a nation?"

In Llandudno the footpath passes the Lauriston Court Hotel, where a room costs only £35 a night and which topped a recent poll to find the best hotel service in the world. Its proprietors, Carol-Lynn and Ian Robbins, are rather better versed in good manners than the television presenter Anne Robinson, who was forced to make a public apology to the entire Welsh nation after branding its inhabitants "irritating and annoying".

"What are they for?" she asked Paul Merton, when she appeared on the television show Room 101. "They are always so pleased with themselves."

In 1998 the Sunday Times television critic called the Welsh "loquacious dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls". But then he has been just as unkind about England's "lumpen and louty, coarse, unsubtle, beady-eyed, beefy-bummed herd".

There are some more official warning signs that the grass is not always greener in the valleys. The Office for National Statistics' annual wellbeing report found more unhappiness in Wales than anywhere else in the UK. More than a quarter – 25.3 per cent – of Welsh people gave a low rating for "life satisfaction", compared with 24.3 per cent in England, 22.6 per cent Scotland and 21.6 per cent in Northern Ireland.

Coast to coast: How England and Wales compare

Beaches Rhossili Bay near Swansea was named Europe’s third best beach by TripAdvisor last week. The 3-mile stretch of white sand, located within an area that was designated as the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK, finished above Woolacombe in Devon, which was voted fifth.

Prescriptions
Wales Free
England £7.65

Healthcare spending
Wales £2,017 per person, per year
England £1,900

Happiness
Wales 25.3% of people had low life satisfaction
England 24.3%

Life expectancy
Wales 77.6 years.
England 78.6 years

House prices
Wales £153,299.
UK average £238,293

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Secondary Supply Teachers to work in Peterborough

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers required fo...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week