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Solihull ‘best place to live’ in UK Quality of Life Index

Scottish regions dominate the bottom of the Quality of Life Index, which measures income, life expectancy, household bills and broadband speeds

Solihull's high life expectancy and disposable income has helped it reach top of the uSwitch UK Quality of Life Index 2013

Solihull’s high life expectancy and disposable income helped it reach top of the UK Quality of Life Index. Photograph: Carl Baker

Solihull is the best place to live in the UK, according to a new Quality of Life Index from uSwitch.

The study assessed 138 local areas for 24 different factors including salaries, disposable household income and the cost of essential goods, such as fuel, food and energy bills.

Lifestyle factors such as working hours, life expectancy and hours of sunshine, were also included to provide a complete picture of the quality of life in each region.

While Solihull comes out on top, the bottom of the index is dominated by Scottish regions.

East and North Ayrshire is ranked as the worst place to live in the UK, with low income, poor exam results and low life expectancy – as well as a distinct lack of sunshine.

Solihull redevelopment

Situated nine miles away from Birmingham, Solihull is considered one of the most prosperous towns in the Midlands and is home to Land Rover’s main production plant.

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) also falls within the borough as does a large chunk of Birmingham airport.

The Silhillians, Solihull’s residents, have benefitted from the recent redevelopment of the town centre including a large new shopping centre.

According to the report, people in Solihull pay high house prices, high energy bills and hefty council tax bills.

However, these costs are outstripped by high average salaries of £27,435 a year and relatively high levels of disposable income of £17,359 a year.

Added to these are low mortality rates, high life expectancy – 81 for men and 84 for women – and above average broadband speeds of 17Mb, as well as cheaper car insurance premiums of around £528 per year.

The 10 best places to live in the UK | uSwitch Quality of Life Index 2013

The ‘worst’ place to live in the UK

By contrast, residents in both East and North Ayrshire, ranked the ‘worst’ places to live, have average salaries of £24,242 a year and disposable income of £14,430 a year – 17% less than the Silhillians.

Employment rates and life expectancy are also lower – 75 for men and 80 for women – and broadband speeds of just 8Mb, are twice as slow as Solihull’s.

Exam results are relatively poor and the regions experience less sunshine than the rest of the country.

The 10 worst places to live in the UK | uSwitch Quality of Life Index 2013

UK Quality of Life Index 2013

Personal finance expert at uSwitch, Michael Ossei says the study shows that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to improve people’s financial situation.

“Despite the uplift in the economy, British households are facing huge financial pressure as the cost of living continues to climb while take home pay stays stagnant,” he said.


West London is Britain’s richest region by a long way with average salaries of £35,500 and an annual disposable household income of £32,800 – three times higher than disposable income in Nottingham (£10,834).

Surrey comes second for spending power, followed by Buckinghamshire and parts of outer London and Hertfordshire (see table below).

Quality of Life Index 2013 | The best and worst places to live in the UK, ranked by disposable income

Cost of living

Meanwhile, when it comes to essential household bills, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index shows the difference paid by consumers based on where they live.

While people in Leicestershire spend the most on council tax, energy bills are highest in the East Midlands and petrol costs are highest in Northamptonshire.


Despite earning the most, West London is the most dangerous place to live, with the highest crime rates in the UK.

Northumberland, ranked the eighth overall in Quality of Life Index, has the lowest rate of reported crime in the country.

uSwitch UK Quality of Life Index

  • Colin

    The figures used to rank regions by ‘daylight’ (i.e. average annual sunshine hours) seem to be totally inaccurate. Dundee, for example, has 1564 annual hours according to Met Office climate averages. This is much higher than the figure of 1175 hours used in the report (a figure used for all regions in Scotland?!) and also happens to be higher than the sunshine hours for Cambridge, London, Birmingham (Solihull). Please get your facts right!

  • Gillian Telfer

    Oh my god – I can not believe this report! So according to Uswitch as long as you have day light and money you will be living in a good place? I love that there is a distinct line that separates the good from the bad! Maybe we should rebuild Hadrian’s wall! Firstly – Daylight hours? is that really a major consideration? Surely that’s just geography? Does that mean then that say Libia is a better place to live than London? Life expectancy – I would rather die at 62 having lived a full life than live to 85 in middle England with a poker up my back. I can say that I am a young professional with a larger than average (even the London average) income. My disposable income is only one factor in a life a would say I am more than satisfied with. I wake every day to the view of the Firth of Clyde and enjoy spending my time on the white sandy beaches or riding my horse in lush forestry. We have hundreds of miles of good cycle paths right on our doorstep and people travel from all over the world to visit our district. I have a Michellin Star restaurant 2 miles from my house that serves delicious locally sourced seafood and produce. I live in a larger than average modern house with a smaller than average mortgage. I have a very competitive jobs market on my door step and I have a good road and rail link for commuting. I have lived in the south of England – Namely Hampshire for a period of time and I can honestly say that although it was a nice place – I would not be able to enjoy the same standard of living as I do here. Yet according to your calculations I live in the worst area in the UK. I can honestly say that if I won the lotto tomorrow I would stay right here in the district. North Ayrshire is a GOOD place to live.

  • Steve Johnston

    Yet another mediocre trawl of available data at a level of geography no-one can relate to. The NUTS-3 ‘regions’ the article refers to are European accounting units – combining such places and Walsall and Wolverhampton into one entity – hardly homogenous are they?
    Undoubtedly the method of combining the indicators was completely robust and transparent – not! ….. and the indicators themselves comprehensive and accurate …. knowing the surveys that some of them are from – i know they are not.
    Not worth the storage space it is posted-on??

  • Don Goodman

    What a load of rubbish!! I would far sooner live in the Inverness, Conway/Denbighshire or Lochaber/Skye/Arran areas than Solihull or any of the Home Counties areas except, perhaps Surrey

  • J. R. Tomlin

    So life is idyllic in England but you are a miserable loser if you live in Scotland. That’s what I call a deep analysis.

  • Andy

    And nothing about Wales (except one place)? Still, you’d expect uSwitch to be overly preoccupied with money as a measure of happiness. It’s just another pathetic excuse for uSwitch to spam us with useless information. I’m just about to unsubscribe from their non-entity email bulletin.

  • Ian Steel

    USwitch should stick to what they are good at… this is one of the most flawed and ridiculous surveys I have ever seen. If this was a submission for an exam it would fail miserably and USwitch have not done themselves any favours at all.

  • Tooposhtowash

    Seems Scotland gets plenty of daylight when I’m holidaying up there enjoying their magnificent countryside beaches and mountains and the more relaxed gentle way of life! Clearly I had no idea the scots were dropping down like flies all around me ?! Would you Adam n eve it (tongue in cheek) And how come house prices were the highest in Perth & Inverness if they are so p*** poor

  • J.R. Hartley

    Another self lauding report about how great it is to live in English middle class ghettoes safe from the Scotts and the Welsh. Let me tell you, wee laddie, they can have yer all for breakfast, spit out yer bones and make them into spoons (teaspoons). Let’s have a dull two-faced people vs real honest people report and see what are the scores for that, George Dawes!

  • Chris

    I have lived in Solihull and I now live in Conway. Conway is by far a better place to live!

  • ann boyd

    What a load o keek

  • K Maxted

    I moved to Glasgow from South London 42 years ago and wild horses could not pull me back. The quality of life afforded by a city as compact as Glasgow with superb access to countryside- even on a modest income- great FREE access to museums and a host of inexpensive cultural opportunities and a warm and generous populace leaves little to be desired (maybe fill some potholes though). Certainly there are small, concentrated areas of extreme poverty throughout the West of Scotland, perhaps there is a greater disparity of wealth and poverty often cheek by jowl. However for the majority there is an abundance of life-enhancing opportunities apart from simplistic notions of wealth and broadband speed and this is what makes the place so great. Thanks Scotland, you have been great to this Englishman!

  • Debz

    So ironic that some of the most beautiful and peaceful areas to live are judged the worst places to live in UK. I have clean, fresh air to breath and fields within 5 mins of my home, a vibrant, unique award winning High Street ten mins walk away and great schools and superb hospitals where waiting lists are something we hear about on the news. Crime is so rare our police regularly sit with speed traps for something to do. Our broadband speeds may not be great but we just use flash lights and Morse Code to communicate during all those hours of darkness 😉

  • a vose

    One big problem with this survey and ones like it is that it has only covered 138 areas,and so cannot really claim to be accurate when making broad generalisations. Where for example are the high poverty ,unemployment and deprivation in areas of NW England or NE England?Parts of Greater Manchester,Merseyside and Tyneside would surely be up near the top,if factored in?

  • K C Thomson

    If quality of life was based on the most scenic, beautiful place with the friendliest warm hearted people, then Scotland would win hands down every time! Quality of life is not all about money.

  • zarrafak

    The criteria don’t make a lot of sense.
    eg Scotland and North Wales don’t spend 3 hours a day in traffic jams.
    Angus is right at the foot of the Cairngorms – one of the most scenic areas in the UK, with AND the best ski-ing / some of the best golf courses. Similar comments could apply to Conwy, with Snowdonia nearby. I’m in Stirlingshire, next to Fife and Clackmannan. They’re all minutes from countless scenic lochs and mountains …and Edinburgh – possibly the most culturally endowed city in Europe. 40 mins from Glasgow. Neither of which we have to fund in council tax! I think the criteria need reviewed!

  • Paul Cone

    Utter rubbish. Hull is an amazing place, full of interest, the most friendly people and great art gallery, museums, ships,sea,markets and great restaurants, even a Premiership football club. Solihull is a boring non-place, with a crap shopping centre (like every other one in UK) a Conference north team and… well there’s Birmingham down the road which is OK. Do these survey people go and visit these places? No way

  • Philip

    Completely biased drivel. Places in Scotland rountinely come out at the top of ‘best places to live’.

    Why are all of the ‘best’ in England and 80% of the ‘worst’ in Scotland? Skye & Lochaber is an absolutely massive area with hardly anyone living their but it’s meant to be bad.

    Another reason for independence so we don’t have to out up with this English-biased drivel….

  • D.S.Taylor

    Sound research (not) that puts one of the three approved finalists for uk city of culture in the top 10 worst places to live. What a plonker!

    An absolute stupidly crafted report that is of zero value other than getting people’s back up and increase visits to your site. Good job!

  • Maaaark

    *applause…Brilliant article Jafar.
    (give that man a lollipop)
    Did you receive actual money on completion of this garbage?
    The Sun prints tighter copy than this on a daily basis.

  • Paul Routledge

    Nowhere does this survey include the cost of housing either renting or buying. Surrey and Hertfordshire appear high in the list but it’s almost impossible for most ordinary people to buy a house there.
    The disposable income measure is equally useless, the west end of London may have the highest disposable income but when it’s £6 for a pint down the local and nearly £20 to go see a movie that ‘income’ rapidly becomes very ‘disposable’.
    There’s no consideration of the contribution to ‘quality of life’ of real fresh air not metropolitan smog, real countryside not artificial parkland, sense of community not arrogant snobbishness, nothing about the quality of education in local schools, average commute time for employees.
    To bracket Skye in Scotland with Arran is a nonsense as they are 150 miles apart as the crow flies and nearer twice that as the car drives.
    And for those of us who live in the north and amongst the mountains, we value the wind and the rain equally to the sunshine as life enriching experiences of our eve changing weather. That’s before you consider that a Sunny day in the city of London is a sticky and uncomfortable experience and a sunny day on the white sandy beaches of Morar or the isle of Iona are a paradise beyond description or quantification.

  • Garry O’Malley

    As usual with this type of research, its probably been put together by narrow minded public school types who have never wanted for anything and measure the quality of life on money !!!. And never ever been to many of the places they judge, but you people need to know keep your opinionated middle England selfish values as a measure, I will stick with measuring the quality of the people who live in these so called worse places to live and their values which are far more desirable to me.


    Solihull???? do me a favour…what a load of…blers!!!!!

  • D Hanlin

    What a load of nonsense your survey is when you have Dundee & Angus area as 3rd worst area to live in UK. I would rather live in this area than any of your over populated English Citys. Solihull. ……do me a favour !.

  • Gulamahmed Bakawala

    A guy who did this analysis has a Muslim name, but that may not mean that he is a Muslim. Living close to Mosque was not a priority for him. What are the essentials of idyllic life? For me my house and my surrounding are idyllic. I am very happy. Gulamahmed

  • Meryl

    I’m glad Conwy County is the worst place to live…….perhaps, it wil get a bit quieter for a week or two in the year and give the locals a breather from the thousands of tourists that appear to come genre time and time again. And may be people from the South of England and West Midlands will stop migrating here. Such a bad place that the locals don,t leave. my father lived till 92 years and mother still going at 86 years! and for some reason, I have enjoyed a great life here. who dreams up this rubbish. Looks like no one will be going to Scotland then!!! Life,s all about money, is it?

  • Gerry Campbell

    Someone independent might look at the results, think that they seem slightly skewed and question whether the measures are correct, but presumably Uswitch did this independent check before sharing this piece of research?

  • Fred Jones

    Have the researchers ever visited Conwy and denbighshire if so how on earth have they come to the conclusion that it is the 10th worst place to live?Its position should be reversed yes it does have some difficult areas but the majority of the area has a very high quality of life.

  • David

    I can sum this up in one word. Twaddle.

  • J Crawford

    You do have to wonder at the level on objectivity and selective bias in this report…. Sadly it makes me concerned about the impartiality and credence of uswitch itself by giving validity to such a survey. Truly disappointing.

  • dave

    Although we in Hull are penalised by a virtual monopoly in telecom by k comms that’s about the worst I can say. Yes houses cost less but that’s good for me. How much did your 4 bedroomed detached house cost? I would rather walk through some of our worst areas than drive through some in other cities..

  • jack grainger

    Sorry this seems like nonsense to me

  • Mike Cairns

    The results are no surprise to the people of Scotland. This survey just proves that the years of neglect from Governments and so called Local Councils are bringing Scotland into a very depressing place to live a happy life. Constructive actions are needed Now as the PEOPLE of Scotland are so special they deserve it!

  • me o my

    to put it bluntly these figures are total b/s I’m more interest in who exactly stands to gain from this cods wallop and there links to u switch.

  • Tantallon

    I travel around the Highlands and islands as a Telecom Supervisor, and I would say Scotland is the best for Scenery in the WORLD. If you want to escape the crime ridden rat race then you won’t find a better place but please keep it a secret and maybe it will stay that way. btw Plenty of English folk know the secret and have moved up there.

  • John Bramham

    Okay, Solihull IS a nice place to live, and work for that matter; we’re sheltered from the worst of the wind and weather and we have a lot going for us in many ways.
    However for all this there is a price to pay; our average council tax is high, granted, but the very fact that Solihull is seen as an affluent area also attracts the wrong sort of attention from inmates of some close suburbs of neighbouring Birmingham, who see Solihull as fair game for theft, burglary and other entrepreneurial skills they may have.
    Much of what we have here is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of ordinary working people, but like most areas, there are always going to be some districts where poverty and deprivation are more prevalent – you simply cannot generalise as to which town or area is the best to live in, as there are good parts and bad parts wherever you look.
    John B, Fmr Councillor.

  • K Moseley

    Inverness (rated 4th worst) is far more affluent than the survey suggests. The surrounding area is dotted with huge brand new mansions, although mostly unoccupied I might add. What Scotland has in spades is space for everyone. Overcrowding is the true thief of life-quality and the south east is somewhere I would never live even if I could afford the house prices.

  • David Priestley

    Strange isn’t it that the 8th best place and the 9th worst place appear to be in exactly the same place?

  • Dennis82

    What a load of rubbish which people living in Denbighshire will definitely not recognise any more than I do living near Chester.Whoever edited this information should be taken out and shot!!

  • A.G. Rogie

    Solihull ! Have your researchers been there ?
    As other comments on this survey have stated, access to some of the most beautiful parts of the UK are on the doorstep of most of the residents of Scotland. This should be taken into account when conducting a survey of the “quality of life”

  • steve

    What a load of rubbish, I was born in solihull there is loads of poverty there and it may have people with money but they are all kippers and curtains and snobs. I left there 25 years ago and live in the black country they have better people and also there is a lot of hidden wealth, nice houses,and a lot of elderly.
    I dont see how this can be worked out from a desk unless you physically speak to people.

  • Stuart

    What a load of rubbish, I no longer see uswitch as a credible source of information and will be unsubscribing from the mailing list. FYI I do not live in any of the ‘worst places’.

  • George McAvoy

    I spent six years living and working in Wolverhampton. I found it a great place – the people were the friendliest I have ever met ( I am 71 years of age)

  • MIKE


  • Barbara hamill

    East Ayrshire, the worst place to live in the UK…really? I’m sitting here looking out from our farmhouse, at our snow covered fields, my horses, and not another house in sight. Who sets the measure for ‘quality of life’, it would appear from most of the comments, certainly not the people who live in the areas. Rubbish like this will only play into the hands of the ‘yes’ campaigners for independence…………or is that the idea?!!

  • Sue Swann

    I live in the lovely South East. They’re building huge housing projects all around us down here. I cannot speak my native language (English) when I visit London as I am now in a minority. Nope, I do not agree with this survey. The South of England has been taken/concreted over!! I shall move far North or South West at the earliest opportunity.

  • william

    Strange extrapolation of dodgy data I think.
    Actually I’m interested to see where his data has been drawn from & despite his name is he involved in unionist politics.
    Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are only 2 of 3 (inc London)of British cities in the top 30 of the wealthiest per capita of Europe.
    They all have their fair share of problems of course.
    Next is Bristol (out of the top 30)but surely one of the nicest places to stay in the UK along with bath.
    Overall Scotland is the 3rd most productive region in Britain according to the Financial Times, which is backed up by recent Eurostat figures.
    Maybe Uswitch knows more, but somehow I don’t see many in the UK pining to live in Solihull (!?) anytime soon. lol
    I mean does anyone?

  • Paul

    I live in Surrey…I’d rather live in Scotland…it depends on how well you know Britain… most Brits know more about Spain and very little of the UK. The surveys is limited. At the end of the day its people that count! Paul 19 November

  • Michael Edmonds

    Lies, damned lies and surveys on the internet!

  • Lou James

    Whoever wrote this was obviously bored and hasn’t spent any amount of time in Scotland! As for Solihull being the best place to live; do me a favour, it has the most unfriendly people I have ever come across! All towns and cities have good and bad areas, it’s who live there that counts!! Total Garbage!

  • Zahra Shah

    The above people need to re-read what this article is based on: ‘factors including salaries, disposable household income and the cost of essential goods, such as fuel, food and energy bills.’ It’s not about what you see outside of your window or how nice the people are. There is no political agenda here either, ffs.

  • quietasamouse

    So, 1 for, 50 against….my main objestion is the lack of ‘like to like’ comparision. Solihull is a city, the rest of the ‘top ten are counties. That makes any comparison invalid straight off. If this is how uSwitch spends it’s time & money, they might jut as well chuck it in now.

  • Katkin

    This survey is such a load of rubbish. For a start Rotherham isn’t even in the top 10 worst places to live, and every Rotherham resident knows that we should have definitely won in that category!

  • danishpenguin3

    You must be taking the p–s,or on another planet if you think broadband speed is a consideration.

  • Blake

    I wonder if U Switch got the message yet? These kind of surveys are arcane in this day and age and hardly indicative of a real quality of life- try actually speaking with people sometime.

  • felissylvestris

    The Highlands … mountains, beaches, forests, wildlife, plenty of space, no traffic, festivals, skiing, music, climbing, clean air … who’d want all that? Solihull must be better!

  • mamalade queen

    Thought the south west was part of the UK. Some of the poorest wages, highest house prices in the country but like all surveys, no one seems to want to progress further south and west than Bristol. If surveys are to have any meaning, then at least make them comprehensive. Perhaps u switch will make a start though I doubt it, broadband speed is pretty patchy as well as mobile phone connections so they might have to get out of their warm offices and undertake the work!

  • Hugh Jarse

    This research has obviously been carried out by failed Geography students with a grudge against society in general for having to live in ‘ Soli-‘ul ‘

  • Brian Cole

    Denbighshire area is listed as most deprived in Wales.
    The areas of St.Asaph and Ruthin flooded. The whole place is depressing.

  • Matt

    What a load of rubbish… How can you compare a small town like Solihull with whole counties like Surrey, Oxfordshire etc? Whoever designed this ‘study’ needs to go back to primary school…

  • Jeanette Hollingsworth

    Ironic really seeing as Kingston upon Hull has been rated as the 2nd worst place to live in this silly listing, having just been given the City of Culture 2017! Only had a quick look at all the results and can truly say for a start the broadband speeds shown are stupidly wrong. The speed I regularly get is more than 40 not the 9 indicated. Fibre optic supplied through our own telephone company. But nevertheless it appears we’ll all have to pack up and go and live down south where life appears to be so, so, so much better than oop norf. Nah, think I’ll stay where I am in Kingston upon Hull thank you, could be worse I suppose according to this list.

  • Leri

    Pathetic. I live in Conwy and work in Denbighshire and the quality of life in these counties are wonderful, with breath taking scenery, historic towns with low crime rate. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. The only good thing that might come out of this ridiculous survey is that people may keep away and stay in the West Midlands.

  • Russell Telfer

    Posters: do your own survey. What factors would you weigh in with? What would you leave out, if any? How would you weight them?
    50 different surveys would provide 50 different results.
    Considering the reaction to this survey, USwitch have shot themselves in the foot.

  • I live in Llangollen, Denbighshire (apparently the worst place to live in the UK) surrounded by lush green hills and stunning countryside. Out of my front window, steam trains whistle by and canoeists enjoy the white waters of the Dee. Shortly I shall walk along Telford’s historic canal to one of many charming cafés for breakfast and shall, as I do everyday, thank my lucky stars I live in such a wonderful place. Whoever wrote this utter bulls*** of a survey is an ignorant fool who knows nothing about the real qualities of a happy life!! And that’s before I mention our world famous musical Eisteddfod where the like of Pavarotti have performed. God my blood boils.

  • Ron Judd

    It’s unanimous.