Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Is Elmbridge a Paradise?

The Times once famously said Elmbridge was the 'closest thing to paradise' in the UK. Frankly, as the local MP, I have never found this kind of label very helpful.

Yes, we live in a beautiful and comfortable area. But, this kind of tag blithely ignores the pressures many people face, even in any area of overall or average affluence. So, it's great that Which?, the consumer magazine, have published an online app that shows in detail the kind of pressures different neighbourhoods are facing.

You can check for yourself online here. Compared to the UK average, Elmbridge is experiencing less financial distress, measured by the amount of borrowing, defaults on bills, rent or mortgages and wider cut-backs in household expenditure. But, the differences with the rest of the UK are quite marginal.

There are some interesting indicators about local satisfaction with a range of lifestyle issues – from leisure time to social life, as well as job and income.

The data also shows very low levels of trust in the European Union, and – interestingly - high levels of trust in the food industry (which may reflect the lower prices resulting from the supermarket price wars). Still, 40% of residents are concerned about household debt – which is unsurprising given interest rates are likely to go up at some point – and 51% are worried about their savings rate.

One thing is for sure: Elmbridge is not some paradise apart from the rest of the country.


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