By Annette Belcher
Solihull has been officially named the best place to live in the UK.
Factors including high disposable income, a long life expectancy and fast broadband speeds put the town at the top of uSwitch.com’s Quality of Life Index.
The study assessed 138 areas on 24 elements, including salary, disposable household income and the cost of essential goods, such as fuel, food and energy bills, as well as influences such as working hours, life expectancy and hours of sunshine.
And, while Solihull was top, the bottom of the index was dominated by Scottish regions.
East and North Ayrshire were ranked the worst places to live in the UK, with low income, poor exam results and low life expectancy – as well as a distinct lack of sunshine.
Solihull was considered one of the most prosperous towns in the Midlands.
It is home to Jaguar Land Rover’s Lode Lane plant and the NEC, while a large chunk of Birmingham Airport falls within the borough’s boundary.
Coun David Jamieson (Labour, Kingshurst and Fordbridge) said: “Yes, I agree that Solihull is a great place to live. It is an excellent place for employment, shopping and connectivity. The people are nice and the general environment is good.
“But we must not be complacent and remember that Solihull is an area of two halves. South Solihull is relatively wealthy whereas there is deprivation in the north.
“There is also some deprivation in the south and we must always keep that in mind.”
The poll found the average salary in Solihull was £27,435 while the average level of disposable income was £17,359-a-year.
Men could expect to live until they were 81 and women 84, the index said.
In contrast, residents in both East and North Ayrshire had average salaries of just £24,242 a year and disposable income of £14,430 a year.
Worse still, men died an average of six years earlier than in Solihull and women four years earlier.