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A controversial report from price comparison firm uSwitch has ranked Leicester as the worst place to raise a family in England.

Photo Credit: Pukaar News
Photo Credit: Pukaar News

The ‘Better Family life Index’ focused on 33 factors considered important to family life. Researchers gathered data on 138 local authority areas, including both cities’ and counties, before ranking Leicester the worst place in the country and second to worst in the UK, with East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire in Scotland taking the 138 spot.

The top three spots in the index were awarded to Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire respectively.

Figures on employment, education, broadband speed, council tax, healthcare and the weather were all included in the data taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which splits the country into council areas. Whilst Leicester city ranked at the bottom of the table, the county of Leicestershire and Rutland appeared midway at 76.

The comparison of city based data with that taken from much larger, less densely populated county areas has led to questions over the validity of the report. Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said: “It’s full of inaccuracies, full of misunderstandings and is no use whatsoever as a comparison.”

In 2015, the uSwitch ‘Quality of Life Index’, which focused on an almost identical set of criteria across the same 138 areas, placed the Leicestershire and Rutland region at 34, with Leicester city appearing at 101. Sir Soulsby added: “What we should be focusing on is what an amazing city this is. It’s got some very positive things about it; it’s a very proud city.

“The Leicester of this so called survey is one that I don’t recognise and I don’t think any Leicester people do either.”

Photo Credit: Pukaar News
Photo Credit: Pukaar News

Local resident, Carl Finch said: “I heard about the report earlier on, I think you’ve got to take them with a pinch of salt sometimes. I live and work in Leicester; it’s a really nice city.”

No one responsible for the report was available for comment on the fairness of the data comparisons.

uSwitch, which offers an online and telephone consumer comparison site and switching service, is owned by the Zoopla Property Group Plc which operates the online property portals Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

The ‘Better Family Index’ is the newest in a long line of reports that rank places around the UK against a certain set of qualifying criteria.

A report published back in July by professional services giants PriceWaterhouseCoopers ranked Leicester in the top ten of best UK cities to live and work, whilst the Royal bank of Scotland Student Living Index, also published in July, ranked Leicester 13 out of the top 25 most cost effective cities for student living.

By Jennifer Morris

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