East Dunbartonshire is only Scottish area in UK top 20 for 'quality of life'

EAST Dunbartonshire is the local authority with the highest quality of life and is the only place in Scotland to appear in the UK top 20.

The local authority area is singled out for the accolade in the first annual Halifax Quality of Life Survey for its high employment, owner occupancy rate, generally good health and high educational results. The survey tracks where living standards are highest in Great Britain by ranking local performance across key indicators of the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health.

But Scotland has not performed that well in the survey. The only other Scottish local authorities to appear in the top 50 table are Midlothian at number 48 and the Borders at 49.

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They are also only three Scottish local authorities appearing in the top 50 rankings by house price. East Lothian is at number 31, East Renfrewshire at 32 and the Borders at 49.

The south-east of England and Greater London dominate the list of top ten counties for quality of life in the research, providing eight of the top ten. Buckinghamshire has the best quality of life amongst counties in Britain with the healthiest and some of the highest-paid residents.

House prices trade at a premium to the average house price in their region in half of the top 30 counties with the best quality of life.

In the survey, residents of Buckinghamshire are not just the healthiest but they also have the highest life expectancy rates (80 years for newborns).

People living in the county are also typically well remunerated with an average annual salary of 40,000 (equivalent to the top 5 per cent for all counties).

The majority of householders are owner-occupiers (77 per cent), while houses are larger than average (6.1 rooms).

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said: "People living in Buckinghamshire have the highest quality of life amongst all the counties in Great Britain. Average house prices in the county, however, trade at a premium of 21,500 to the south-east region; so there is a price to pay."

"Half the top 30 counties have average house prices that are below the regional average. These counties provide the potential for good value with a combination of relatively low prices and high quality of life."