Jobless rate in Rugby is falling but poverty worsening - report

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UNEMPLOYMENT in Rugby has been falling since 
February 2010 yet long-term unemployment has been rising, a report has revealed.

The county’s annual Quality of Life report, published by Warwickshire Observatory, has thrown up several striking trends about life in Rugby ranging from birth rates and house prices to income, poverty and mortality rates. One key finding was that although Warwickshire fared well with the rest of the UK in terms of economic data, its inhabitants were notably less happy, coming 136th out of 142 areas.

The data also showed that Rugby was the fastest growing district in Warwickshire, with its population rising 14 per cent between 2001 and 2011, compared to the county average of eight per cent and the English average of seven per cent. There were 6,313 babies born in Warwickshire in 2010, up 20 per cent in the past ten years.

The median house price for Warwickshire in 2011 was £182,000, which is just below England’s of £184,995, but significantly higher than the West Midlands regional figure of £145,000. Stratford-on-Avon has prices almost twice as high as Nuneaton and Bedworth.

In terms of poverty and deprivation, Rugby district fares better than Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire, but not as well as Stratford, Warwick or Leamington.

Child poverty in Rugby continues to rise and was measured at a rate of 13.2 per cent in 2009. Worryingly it revealed that almost one in five households in Rugby is considered to be in fuel poverty. Rugby’s figure is 19.4 per cent compared to the England average of 16 per cent.

The data will now be used by local authorities to try and improve life in the county.

Cllr David Wright, portfolio holder for finance, improvement, and IT at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The Quality of Life Report is one of the key foundations of our decision making process and it forms a vital aid in ensuring that the policies we make are based on the most up to date data, evidence and intelligence.”

Spencer Payne from Warwickshire Observatory said: “As in previous years, the report should not be regarded as a performance report. It is an assessment of a range of demographic, social, economic and environmental themes that all play a part in influencing our residents’ quality of life. Some of the issues are easier to influence than others, but the report will provide decision makers with the analysis they need to make informed choices.”