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Poll: Ipswich is one of the fastest growing and happiest UK towns

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:11 27 January 2014

A sunny winter's day on Ipswich Waterfront

A sunny winter's day on Ipswich Waterfront

Ipswich is one of the best places to live in the UK, according to a highly-respected new report published today.

Ipswich near top of charts for quality of life

There are five positive findings for Ipswich in the Cities Outlook report – and one negative point that the county council is seeking to address.

The positives cover both social and economic advantages:

Ipswich is joint first (with Crawley and Aldershot) in the rankings for “life satisfaction” after showing the second highest growth (after Aldershot) between 2012 and 2013.

Ipswich is in sixth place (out of 64) in employment levels – 75.6% of adults have work.

Ipswich is the third lowest place for carbon dioxide emissions per capita, making it one of the greenest cities in the United Kingdom.

Ipswich is seventh in the league table for digital connectivity – 86% of properties in the town have access to superfast broadband.

And Ipswich is in fifth place for population growth over the last 10 years, although this has slowed recently.

There are other positives for the town – it is near the top of the league table for innovation, with a high proportion of patents granted for the population and its homes are among the more affordable across the country.

However, it is almost at the bottom of the league table for the number of students gaining five or more GCSEs including maths and English.

It has one of the highest employment rates in the country, is one of the fastest-growing and greenest towns in the country, and has some of the fastest broadband links in the country.

And, to top it all, people who live in Ipswich are becoming happier with their lot than those in any other place nationwide... apart from Aldershot!

The rosy picture is painted in the Cities Outlook report by the Centre for Cities think tank.

The report looks at the economic and social prospects of 64 cities and towns across the UK – and especially their relationships with London, which dominates the economic life of the country.

Ipswich is one of the smallest towns in the survey – and it doesn’t come out so well in every category.

It has one of the lowest rates in the country for GCSE results and one of the smallest manufacturing sectors, a far cry when the town was known for what it made during the heyday of Ransomes, Cranes, and Ransomes and Rapier.

However, altogether there is a very positive message for Ipswich in this report, a fact that was not missed by the two men who will be slugging it out during the next general election campaign.

Current MP Ben Gummer said the report showed that Ipswich was emerging from a very long and deep recession – and backed up his claims that the town is well-placed to move forward.

He said: “I’ve said for some time that the town has tremendous potential. Its position in relation to Cambridge and Norwich and its links to London put it in a strong position to move ahead.

“It is growing, and must be allowed to grow to exploit its potential. This does, however, really show the need to press ahead with the development of the Waterfront and other parts of the town.”

His Labour challenger, David Ellesmere, is currently leader of the borough council. He said: “This is a very encouraging set of indicators for Ipswich.

“While we should in no way be complacent, this report shows we are heading in the right direction: we are in the top 10 for a third of the indicators.

“Particularly encouraging are: the growth in the employment rate – twice the national average – where we have overtaken Norwich and, as a marker for future success, the coverage of super-fast broadband where we have 20% better coverage than the national average and where Norwich is in the bottom 10.

“Intriguingly, given the perception that there is nothing Ipswich people like more than a good moan, we are number one for people reporting they are happy with their lives with one of the biggest increases over the last year!”

Business leaders also welcomed the report.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Dugmore said: “This report and its findings are good news for Ipswich and for the wider economy of Suffolk.

“To see that Ipswich has good employment levels, is well connected and its green record is strong is welcomed and shows the town is in good shape for the year ahead.

“All of us involved in ensuring the Ipswich economy thrives and grows do need to see these positive figures as only a start.

“There are rightly high aspirations for what the town and its economy can achieve and treating these good figures as a spring board to do more should continue to be a priority.”

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