East Anglia 'is great place to live'

A SNAP-SHOT of life in the East of England has shown the region is among one of the best in the country in which to live- with falling unemployment, low crime rates and high life expectancy.

A SNAP-SHOT of life in the East of England has shown the region is among one of the best in the country in which to live- with falling unemployment, low crime rates and high life expectancy.

The figures, which are from a survey by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, also reveal rates of infant mortality are better than the national average, economic output is the third highest in the country and 87% of residents are happy to live in the east.

However one area for concern is education with the number of 19-21 year olds in the region who have achieved five GCSEs at grade C or equivalent below the rest of the country.

The findings have been welcomed by officials in Suffolk and Essex who believe they highlight the prosperity and hard work of people in both counties although they admit there is still work to be done if services are to continue to improve.


You may also want to watch:


Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “I feel very privileged to have lived with my family in Suffolk for the last 36 years and have always felt East Anglia is particularly pleasant.

“It is very much my ambition to do all I can as leader of Suffolk County Council to promote the area as a place where people can continue to come and work and live in happiness and harmony.

Most Read

“Especially in Suffolk I have always found people to be friendly, courteous and to respect other people's views on many subjects. We have very tolerant people in the county and that in itself is an enormous benefit to the well being of the region.

“Other people find the way of life here attractive and long may it continue. We will certainly be working hard to ensure this is the case and to help the region develop even further.”

Mr Pembroke said he was aware of some of the educational problems in the county but believed the opening of University Campus Suffolk in 2007 would go some way to addressing the issue.

He said: “We are all concerned that not enough young people are staying on at school after the age of 16. This is why I particularly welcome the advent of the university campus for Suffolk which will singularly improve the county beyond all recognition.

“It will encourage all youngsters to stay on in school and we are doing all we can to be supportive of that. Also the further education colleges do so much hard work to keep students in education and it is important they continue, especially in respects of their vocational courses, because we need skilled and trained labour in Suffolk.”

Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, echoed Mr Pembroke's comments, saying the findings were great news for the region and reflected the continuing development of the area.

He said: “Like most places Essex has areas of deprivation but on the whole we are a prosperous county and I think the findings show this. It's great news and highlights the hard work which is being done throughout the region.

“Unlike other counties in the east we are unique because of our proximity to the capital and I know a lot of people are worried because of the number of houses we have to build and don't want us to simply become another suburb of London.

“However I will do my best to make sure this doesn't happen and will fight to ensure that we remain individual. We have lots of areas of green land and it is important to protect this environment because it is one of the many benefits of living here.

“The coastline is one of the most beautiful and longest in the country and takes in some wonderful stretches - not only in Essex but also in Suffolk and Norfolk. You can understand why people want to stay here because in less than an hour they can be away from the capital and relaxing in the countryside.”

According to the figures, which were released yesterday to help the Government check on sustainable development, there were 1,120 vehicle thefts, 404 burglaries and 83 robberies per 100,000 of the population in the East of England during 2005.

This compares favourably to a national average of 1,399 vehicle thefts, 609 burglaries and 168 robberies and means burglaries and vehicle theft have decreased in the east by 32% and 42% respectively between 1990 and 2004-5.

Meanwhile 78.7% of all working age people in the region were employed this year, up from 75.7% in 1992 and a 3.7% increase on the national average.

The figures also show that in Spring this year the East of England had the second lowest overall level of economic inactivity, 20.3% compared to a national average of 21.2%, with the lowest regional economic inactivity for males, 12.5% compared to an average of 16.1% throughout England, and the third lowest for females, 24.2% compared to an overall average of 26.6%.

The level of economic output from the region was the third highest in the country and measured £17,452 per head in 2003 - around £1,100 higher than the England rate.

However only 72% of 19-21 year-olds in the East of England had the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades C or above, an improvement on the 71% of 1997, but short of the national average of 74.4%.

Male life expectancy increased by 2.6 years to 77.6 years compared to a national average of 76.6 years and life expectancy for females increased by 1.5 years to 81.6 years, compared to an overall average of 80.9 years.

Infant mortality in the East of England in 2002 was better than the England average and between 1981 and 2002 fell from 9.7 to 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Overall householder satisfaction in the characteristics of the local area decreased very slightly from 89% to 87% between 1999-00 and 2002-3 but still above the national average of 86%.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said: “What the figures tell us is that in every region there have been clear achievements and many areas where things are getting better, such as economic growth, new jobs and environmental improvements - but in some areas progress is not meeting people's needs or hopes.

“That is why we want to help people have more of a say in how their communities are run and served and to get involved in tackling issues such as climate change and energy efficiency, working together to improve their quality of life.”

AT A GLANCE

· 1,120 vehicle thefts, 404 burglaries and 83 robberies per 100,000 of the population in the East of England during 2005 - below the national average.

· An employment rate of 78.7% this year - 3.7% better than the national average.

· Economic activity in the region is the second lowest in the country, with an economic output of £17,452 per head in 2003 - around £1,100 higher than the national rate.

· Life expectancy and infant mortality rates better than the rest of the country.

· Only 72% of 19-21 year-olds have the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades C - below the national average of 74.4%.

· The majority of householders are satisfied with their way of life in the eastern region.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter