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‘Extremely worrying’: Young people in England thinking of moving amid lack of opportunities

This file photo shows Ipswich town center in the UK. (By eye35.pix/Alamy)

A survey has found that most of 16- to 18-year-old British people say they need to move from their areas, including those in the northeast, Yorkshire and the east of England, amid lack of opportunities.

According to the survey conducted by the Social Mobility Foundation, on average more than 85% 16- to 18-year-olds felt they needed to leave their areas.

The figure stood at 95% in the east of England, 91% in the northeast, 90% in Yorkshire and 88% in the northwest.

Some 2,000 people participated in the survey, The Guardian reported.

Tom Brennan from Ipswich said, “To be honest, the biggest thing going for the town is its proximity to London. There’s not many opportunities or events happening here.”

“There’s not that many computer science roles available here. I’ll probably move to London,” adding “I would miss my family but other than that there isn’t much I would miss about Ipswich,” said the 18-year-old boy who wants to be a programmer. 

Amna Rashid, who lives in Preston, also said, “There’s not exactly much to do here. There’s practically nothing. I usually go to other big cities like Liverpool or Manchester to do things.”

“[Moving] will affect me emotionally but overall my family is supportive of it. They understand that moving away from Preston is the best thing to do,” said the 18-year-old Rashid, who wants to pursue a career in computer science. 

The east of England is home to some of the most deprived towns in the UK such as Jaywick, which has been named the most deprived area in the country.

Lee Elliot Major, a professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, described the survey’s findings as “extremely worrying”.

“It shouldn’t be the case that you need to leave to achieve. The sad indictment of modern British society is that where you come from has a profound impact on your life chances. This survey reflects that,” he said, stressing the importance of a redistribution of job opportunities across the country.

Major warned that “society itself could unravel” if regional disparities are not addressed.

“If we don’t do something to address this, in the future we’re going to have an increasingly polarized society where there are some areas that are plentiful in terms of opportunities and others that are deserts of opportunities. Eventually, society itself could unravel if you’re not offering enough opportunities to people around the country,” he said.

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