Telford 'good for business but not life' says report
It's a great place to do business, but a rotten place to live – that is the verdict given on Telford today by an international think-tank.
The study, by the Legatum Institute, ranked Telford & Wrekin 318th out of 389 local authorities across the UK when it came to overall wellbeing.
And it also ranked the borough among the 10 worst places to live in the UK when it came to "natural environment", well behind the rest of Shropshire which came 139th and Powys which was ranked 161.
But for business, Telford outstrips Shropshire and Powys by finding itself in the top 30 per cent of economies, according to the study. The town comes a respectable 111th in the UK for business environment, but Shropshire flounders in 359th place and Powys in the bottom eight.
While the rest of Shropshire did better than Telford for overall wellbeing, it still came slightly below average in 198th place. Neighbouring Powys did better, coming in at 172.
The organisation, which says its aim is to promote prosperity, ranked each local authority for seven different quality of life indicators. It says that while Telford is a good place for businesses to base themselves, the actual people living there are not reaping the benefits.
For economic wellbeing, which included average income, poverty levels and unemployment, Telford was ranked in 226th place, behind the rest of Shropshire which came in at 162nd, and Powys was in 81st place.
For the health category, Telford & Wrekin also fared poorly, being ranked 324th, compared to the rest of the county which came in at 81st, and Powys which was above average in 151st place.
The report's author, Harriet Maltby, accused many of Britain's major towns and cities of failing their inhabitants and failing to turn economic success into a good standard of living.
Miss Maltby said the research showed that economic wealth did not necessarily guarantee a good standard of living, and pointed out that many of the poorest parts of the UK featured in the top 10 for overall prosperity.
"The UK's towns and cities are letting down many of their residents by failing to turn the higher wealth into real prosperity, which is as much about wellbeing as health.
"They're failing because they're struggling to provide basic life chances to the large numbers who live there."
Everybody hates us, but we dont care
Can it be that bad? Telford resident Toby Neal looks on the bright side:
In a far off place, they have done their sums, made their calculations, and reached their conclusions.
Telford is a poverty-stricken, ill-educated, urbanised wasteland. Somewhere to view while looking down your nose, preferably while holding your nose at the same time.
Or preferably, not view at all. Much better to rely on some fancy methodology than actually to send somebody to have a look around. Such an unscientific approach might distort the results.
Everybody hates us. But do we care? No. Telford folk can fall about laughing.
In the Legatum Institute's first ever "Prosperity Index" the lousy scores just keep on coming for the town.
Across a range of indicators, Telford is among the worst places to live in the UK. The only indicator in which it gets into the top half is for 'business environment'. Strangely, considering this, it does very badly for 'prosperity' and its score for 'natural environment' is nothing short of astonishingly bad – 381st out of 389 local authority areas in the UK, making Telford far, far, worse than somewhere like, say, that rural idyll of Tower Hamlets in this respect.
As somebody who lives in Telford, and is driven mad by the leaves that keep clogging my guttering, and occasionally sees a badger or fox while walking my dogs (I even saw a deer once, but admittedly it was a carcase, probably poached by a starving Telford resident), you will be expecting me to speak up for the town.
Before anybody in Telford takes such a reckless course, they have to ask themselves a question. Is there any money to be made in this?
Telford, the garden city, the wonderful world of opportunity for business – all that can be left to the PR brochures and the pitches to get people to invest here. That's the time for Telford to be wearing its shiny top hat. But when there's any money going – grants, regeneration projects, infrastructure schemes – then it's time for Telford to put on a moth-eaten flat cap, hang our collective, downtrodden heads, and trudge towards those bulging coffers with a begging bowl in one hand and clutching the Legate Institute's "Prosperity Index" in the other.
Oh, we're poor, oh so poor.
And that natural environment – it's so depressing and barren.
You want to see for yourself? (cough, splutter), no you needn't do that. It's all in this report.
Terrible place, Telford, just terrible. Just look where we are for health (324th). And they want to close our A&E department!
Now, guv, if you could find your way to sparing a few coppers...
Looking at its self-description on its website, I see that the Legatum Institute is "an international think tank and educational charity focused on promoting prosperity".
Well, here in Telford, we're all in favour of you promoting our prosperity.