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New data comparison tool highlights good and bad about living in Fenland

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A new comparison tool launched by the Office for National Statistics shows that out of the nine measures available for Fenland only one is positive.

According to the subnational indicators explorer - an interactive tool which allows you to find out more about your local authority and to compare it with others up and down the country - people living in Fenland were less anxious than those living in our neighbouring districts during the main period of the pandemic.

In fact there were few districts nationally where residents were less anxious than those in our area.

New data comparison tool highlights good and bad about living in Fenland.
New data comparison tool highlights good and bad about living in Fenland.

But comparing Fenland to its neighbours; South Holland had the most anxious inhabitants between April 2020 and March 2021while in neighbouring West Norfolk people were suffering about the average amount of anxiety, while those living in East Cambridgeshire were less anxious, but not as relaxed as those in Fenland.

There is only information on nine out of a possible 15 indicators for Fenland they are: gross weekly pay, employment rate, public transport or walk to large employment centre, cigarette smokers, overweight adults, GCSEs in maths and English, happiness, anxiety and cycle to large employment centre.

All but the anxiety indicator were classed as being negative, as they fell below average compared to other authorities nationally.

Out of these by far the most negative was the number of smokers in Fenland in 2020 (the most recent data available). In fact the district is about the worst in the country when it comes to the habit of cigarettes.

Even comparing Fenland with just its neighbours East Cambridgeshire, South Holland and West Norfolk it fares badly.

And in the case of East Cambridgeshire has three times the number of smokers. Fenland has 25 per cent of the population who smoke while in East Cambs it was just 7.4 per cent. There was little to choose between South Holland and West Norfolk with 15.2 and 13.4 per cent respectively - but they were both above the national average which was around 12 per cent.

When it comes to pay in 2021 Fenland workers took home less than the national gross median wage, which was around £610. In Fenland the average wage was £463 - which was higher than West Norfolk (£459) but less than South Holland (£504.30) and also East Cambridgeshire, which at £548.90 was still well below the national average.

But while our pay may be comparatively low, our weight was not. Nearly three quarters (74.5 per cent) of Fenland adults were overweight in 2019/20, the national average was around 63 per cent. In East Cambs the figure was 58.8 per cent while West Norfolk was around average at 62.8per cent, while South Holland was slightly over at 67.3 per cent.

As for education the percentage of people who had GCSEs (or equivalent) in both maths and English by age 19 in Fenland in 2019/20 was well-below the average at just 57.6 per cent - the average is around 71.4 per cent. Our neighbouring districts fare better. With East Cambs above average at 73.2 per cent, while West Norfolk was below at 61.7 per cent and South Holland was close to average at 70.2 per cent.

To find out more and to compare Fenland to other parts of the country visit the subnational indicators explorer on the ONS website at ons.gov.uk

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