The South East is a terrible place to earn a living - study reveals the best

The North West triumphs in study of best places to earn a living

Summer weather June 8th 2016

Dick Whittington was right, the streets of London aren't paved with gold - although they could be washed clean with the tears of every young person who thought they would find their fortune in the South East, but instead found a grotty bedsit and a salary that barely covers the rent.

The eponymous hero 'turned again' and made a go of it in the capital, but a new study has revealed that he might have been far better off getting on a train for the North West.

The study by Totally Money has revealed the best and worst places to make a living in the UK.

It looked at all sorts of things, from salary to the cost of living and the health of the job market. The South East dominates the bottom of the league table, home to six of the ten worst places to earn a living.

Ten worst places to earn a living
1. Hastings
2. Preston
3. Portsmouth
4. Gloucester
5. Brighton
6. London
7. Stoke-on-Trent
8. Worthing
9. Reading
10. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Those areas sneaking into the top ten from outside the South East tend to have troubled job markets. Newcastle, for example, has an unemployment rate of 8.7%, Gloucester a rate of 4.5%, Stoke-on-Trent 6.4%, and Preston has an unemployment rate of 5.8% and the jobs market shrunk 3% in the past year.

Ten best places to earn a living
1. Burnley
2. Wigan
3. Barnsley
4. Mansfield
5. Blackburn
6. Telford
7. Aberdeen
8. Derby
9. Sunderland
10. Peterborough

The North West puts in a highly respectable showing in the top ten - at numbers 1, 2 and 5. In fact, of all the areas in the North West, only Preston didn't finish above London. The North in general scored well, and nothing south of Peterborough makes the top ten.

The difference in many cases comes down to the high price of life in the South East - particularly when property is taken into consideration. London and the South East features seven times in the ten highest mortgage repayments. Only Cambridge, Bristol and Southend-on-Sea can compete in mortgage terms.

Burnley stands out in this list, as it's not only the cheapest place to live of all, it has also been named the most enterprising part of the country by the government, which means unemployment is now at 5.5%, and the jobs market grew 4% in the past year. Barnsley is also a particularly affordable area, and benefits from a jobs market that grew 4% in the past year.

Other winners are more mid-table for the cost of living, but their jobs market is booming. Wigan and Aberdeen, for example, grew 6% in the past year, while Mansfield grew 7%.

So what do you think? Do you agree with this study, and would you want to leave Portsmouth, London and Brighton in order to find a more rewarding life in Burnley, Wigan or Barnsley? Let us know in the comments.

Least affordable places to live

Least affordable places to live

Timelapse of Brighton Pride Parade 2016