Gloucester named as the worst place to scrape a living

Gloucester is the worst place to try to earn a living - followed by Rochdale and Blackpool

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Gloucester Cathedral

A new study has named Gloucester as the worst place in the UK to try to earn your living. The researchers highlighted the shrinking jobs market, relatively high unemployment, and expensive mortgages as being particular problems for the area. It pushed Rochdale into second place, and Blackpool into third.

Gloucester took the title in the Totallymoney.com study, despite a relatively high monthly take-home salary of £1,801, pushed higher by the finance and business sectors in the city. The problems are two-fold. First, for those who are in work, people spend an average of more than half their salary on their mortgage. The other issue is that a relatively large number of people are unemployed - with a jobless rate of 7.4%, and a jobs market that has shrunk 13%.

Bottom three

Rochdale is in second place. The former 19th century mill town developed on the back of a bustling canal system. The decline of the mills and the canals meant the decline of much of the area's industry, so it has become predominantly a residential area, and a commuter area for Manchester.

The average salary is not particularly low, at £1,499, and the average mortgage repayment is a reasonable £461 a month. On the basis of the cost of living, the study put it in the top third of places to live. The issue for the labour market, therefore, is largely to do with unemployment - at 7.3%, and a shrinking jobs market - which is down 12%.

Blackpool, meanwhile, is known as much for its high unemployment rate and empty homes as it is for its stag nights and 100m of illuminations. For those in work, things look fairly rosy, with a relatively low average monthly take-home salary of £1,423, but a tiny monthly mortgage of £377. The researchers put it in ninth place for cost of living. As with Rochdale, the problem isn't among those with jobs as much as for the huge number of people who cannot find work. In Blackpool the unemployment rate is 8% and the job market continues to shrink.

The worst of the rest

The rest of the bottom five is made up of Newport in South Wales - struggling with 7.9% unemployment and a jobs market shrinking by 9%; and Burnley in Lancashire - with unemployment at 8.3%, jobs falling 5%, and relatively low monthly take home salary of £1,279.

The rest of the top ten consists of Norwich (with 7.1% unemployment and average mortgage payments of £804), Kingston-Upon-Hull (suffering particularly high unemployment at 10.9% and a shrinking jobs market), Swindon (with average monthly mortgage payments of £711 and a shrinking jobs market), Huddersfield (which faces unemployment at 6.3%), and Grimsby (where unemployment is at 9%).

The study also named the best places to earn a living. The list was topped by Blackburn, followed by Derby, Cambridge, Sunderland and Milton Keynes. London made 26th place - despite an average take-home salary of £2,190 and a jobs market growing 17%.

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