back to article UK population to abandon Midlands

Orange has been asking people where they would like to live, and assuming connectivity makes it possible it seems the North will not just be grim, but also deserted. Orange surveyed 3,281 office workers in the UK and discovered that 16 per cent of them would take a £6,900 pay cut if they could pick where they worked, while 42 …


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  1. Greg J Preece

    They're missing an arrow

    They've forgotten to include the number of people that would like to live in a different country altogether.

    Also, if those numbers on the map represent splits in the native population of an area, I'd like to prod at your statement about Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham losing 80% of their population, yadda yadda. It may not be Venice, but Leeds is *NOT* in the fucking Midlands!

    *I think that's right, as opposed to percentage change in population if everyone got their own way, etc. Someone at Orange doesn't know how to make a fucking chart, and you lot aren't helping. :-p

  2. Edward Lilley
    Thumb Down


    They seem to have removed East Anglia from the UK. Perhaps it's been secretly colonised by Belgium?

  3. vic denwood

    Did they forget to mention in their survey...

    The high level of naturally occuring Radon Gas in SW England and in Scotland. After smoking it is the highest cause of lung cancer in UK.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I'm on my way!

    Quite agree with Orange's survey. I've managed to get out of working in the Birmingham conurbation after 20+ years. I've just got to ditch the millstone of a house and I'll be free of the clutches of that incompetent evil bloodsucking group collectively known as the Birmingham Council. Can't wait for the day when I can refer to Christmas as Christmas and not some stupid politically-correct-gone-mad-pseudo-multicultural term like Winterval.

  5. Oliver Mayes

    Why do people keep saying that?

    The Midlands is not 'oop north', we're in the middle. The clue's in the name.

    Also, I work in an office and a pay cut of £6,900 would put me dangerously close to 4 figures. Plus, health insurance and company cars? Which office was this survey done in? I'm apparently working in the wrong one

  6. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Not a bad thing

    Well if 80% of the population left the Midlands I would be happy to stay.

    For a start getting to work would be a doddle, hey I could even be my own boss. Lots of naps under the desk for meeee.

  7. James Le Cuirot

    I'm just fine, thanks

    Well I am working from home for a company in London while actually living in Perth, Scotland. I consider myself very lucky. On the odd occasions when I do pop into the office, I always love the reactions I get from people. "You came from where!?" Especially when I get into the office before they do because I took the sleeper train. :D

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Big shitty smoke?!?

    Why in God's name would anyone want to live in London? I do - and it's shit. The nice areas are horrifically expensive and the bad areas are just really, really grim. The Tube is simply painful, the buses are rammed and the natives are just fucking retards, most of whom have never set foot outside the M25 to see how much better the rest of the island genuinely is.

    I've lived in Birmingham. Not as cosmopolitan, granted, but at least if a local nutter approached you would be reasonably comfortable with the idea that he'd just talk to you death. In London you'll get stabbed.

    Why am I still in London? My job. It's not a bad one and has some good benefits that just about outweigh the negatives of living in this shithole. But my guess is that the people who want to live in the capital have a Dick Wittington-style "gold paved streets" mentality and aren't particularly clued-up on a) the cost b) the other people c) the reduced quality of life.

    Still, maybe it'll grow on me? :-)

  9. Ian McLaughlin

    Dumb bitchiness

    Suggesting that people might have second thoughts about Scotland because of "their diet" is as dumb as suggesting the same about England on the basis of Morris Dancers. One rotten tomato coming your way.

  10. Saucerhead Tharpe

    ah that scottish diet

    As I tucked into mushroom risotto with slivers of chorizo in it in Glasgow last night, I wondered how my wife did not deep fry it, she is a tyke

  11. David Hicks
    Thumb Up

    It is rather nice to be able to do that

    Sod the pay cut, I'm leaving the country to become a (very) remote worker. I guess it's just a privilege of working in a location independent field like software.

  12. Andrew Oakley

    Birmingham is in Liverpool now?

    Since when as the West Midlands had access to the coast?

  13. Martin 19

    A Brummie says

    @AC 12:20: I am not the biggest fan of Brum City Council, but in the "incompetent evil bloodsucking" league they are thoroughly pasted by Haringey Council (in London), under whose omnipotent rule I lived for several years. They genuinely thought that the existence of a summer holiday voided any student dispensation from council tax, and demanded thousands of pounds, immediately, on pain of jail. The hoons also couldn't figure out the simple issuing of a resident's parking permit, and when they finally did they gave me endless tickets anyway. I also remember reading in the local rag that they entombed peoples' cars in their driveways using concrete bollards unless the hapless resident coughed up £500-odd for an 'official' dropped kerb. Of course all this is ignoring the whole Baby P story.

    As for areas of the country, it's all about what you want, isn't it? If you like trendy bars and restaurants, and night buses, you'll want London. If you like driving, small factories and engineers, you'll want Birmingham. If you want scenic countryside and fresh air, and don't mind urban conveniences being unavailable, you'll want the Scottish Highlands.

  14. Francis Davey 1

    Learn some geography

    As an earlier poster pointed out Orange's (and therefore yours because you didn't comment on it) geography is really poor. The West Midlands does not center on a point North of Manchester, never has, never will. I grew up in Merseyside and now live in London. I wish I could go back, but there isn't the work *there* its not just a question of a pay cut, its any work at all.

  15. Citizen Kaned
    Thumb Down


    the survey misses the 'im so kool - i live in landan' group. these people havent a clue about the rest of the country, even more so outside the UK.

    people want to live in london as they want to live somewhere that 90% of tax money is spent and the only focus of government. the rest of england is severely left out by london parliament.

    personally i hate the ignorant twats that seem to inhabit london, i much prefer living in a place where i can say 'hi' to people without being looked at as some kind of weirdo.

    nothing to do with hating the london accent, honest!

  16. The Dorset Rambler

    Bugger off!

    We're full.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "The North"

    I love it how "The North" is actually south of where I live (for natives, it's Lothian; for non-Scots, it's Scotland). And why the hell do we Scots have to hear about every little English County, but you lot lump all our regions into "Scotland".

    (OK, we have less people than your average rush-hour tube train, but that's not the point)

  18. Elmer Phud Silver badge


    "They seem to have removed East Anglia from the UK. Perhaps it's been secretly colonised by Belgium?"

    Not exactly, the map is a prediction so most of East Anglia will be submerged by then.

    The number who leave the U.K. entirely are going off abroad as there are 'too many forriners' moving in and never, ever recognise the irony (old colonials that they are).

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    A very quick way to destroy your business to bet your future on what people SAY they'll do.

    Yes, everybody would like to live somewhere nice - though I doubt if the S.E. would qualify as "nice", after it's become completely chokka with the massive influx of people who _say_ they'd like to move there. Maybe the question should have been:

    "Would you like to spend 50+++% of your income on a mortgage for a tiny little rabbit hutch of a house, just so you can live in a region where the rain is a little bit warmer?"

    When phrased like that, I doubt if you'd get many takers - especially ones who (as the piece notes) would still be willing to lose £6,900 from their pay to do so.

    Personally I don't care where I live, so long as I have some space around me, a decent sized house (reckon on 1000 sq. ft. per person), some garden, a supermarket, pub and transport links. But most of all, it *MUST* have a fast broadband connection.

    Maybe I'd sell my tiny little shoebox in the S.E. and buy up an abandoned town somewhere "ooop north" - so long as it has ADSL, of course.

  20. Simon Ward

    Re: Birmingham is in Liverpool now?

    "Since when as the West Midlands had access to the coast?"

    Ever since you could get the train out via Wolverhampton ...

    I went to university in Aberystwyth, which could easily have been renamed 'Brum by the Sea' during the summer months, when the place would be heaving with them.

    I can easily understand why people would want to flee Yorkshire - nice people, by and large, but dull as dishwater otherwise. Or maybe I'm cynical having lived in the mediaeval Disneyland that is York for the past 15 years ...

    Of course, could the main reason Orange punters are heading for the hills be that they stand a better chance of getting mobile reception if they're up a height? IME, they trail O2 a very close second in the 'generalised fuckwittedness' stakes.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    I'm a Brummie, I live and work in London and I'd love to escape back to the Midlands where people make eye contact, don't seem to have so many BO problems on the sardine can they call the Tube and where you can get a decent curry. FOUR POUNDS A PINT FFS!!!

    But personally, why not Scotland?? Free prescriptions, free university places, that sort of thing. Maybe it's because the Midlands has been shat on for years by London and everyone in the Midlands (who almost all drive cause it's the only way to really get around) are sick to death of financing the economy through taxes on fuel, cars and the M6 toll.

    The Sun once ran the famous headline "Will the last person to leave the UK please turn out the lights?" I'm all for moving to the land of the fully published MPs expenses, I'm sick of funding all the scroungers and doleites in London, of being told it's a privilege to pay a fortune for parking, travel, council tax, rent, etc when frankly it's dirty, smelly and shit.

    I'd vote SNP too, fuck this pinko bunch of wankers.

  22. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: winshite

    >>personally i hate the ignorant twats that seem to inhabit london

    How enlightened of you, dear.

  23. sig

    Please don't move to the south west

    Particularly if you're retired. We've already been priced out of family homes by your kind; families squeezed into rabbit hutches while retired couples rattle around in four bedroom piles (for when the children visit, which they don't because it takes forever to get here). And then you clog the roads with your Honda Jazz driven at 30 regardless. Our village schools close because there aren't enough children, because families leave the village to find somewhere big enough and affordable enough. Those families remaining can't enlarge their homes because you object to every planning application. And even though you don't go to work you still insist on doing all your shopping on Saturday morning. And cut your grass at weekends with your noisy ride-on mower. And wash your car every week even in the middle of winter where the run-off water freezes on the road and makes me crash my motorcycle. And then you complain about the weather - always raining. Perhaps you should have checked the Met Office's statistics before moving and picked Norfolk instead.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm confused by the numbers 158% 70% 56% 35% that doesn't add up to 100%. So what the map show, imaginary numbers of nonsense?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    A disgruntled commuter to London from the Midlands writes

    Go on then, **** off, the lot of you. Leave the Midlands and please "enjoy" the South East.

  26. Pete 2 Silver badge

    @Ian McLaughlin

    > because of "their diet" is as dumb as suggesting the same about England on the basis of Morris Dancers.

    So, have you got any good recipes for Morris Dancers?

  27. Budley.Sama

    Re; Winshite


    It seems the goal of living in London is never to speak or make eye contact with anyone you don't know. I had the unfortunate predicament of being lost in London and found that everyone i tried to ask for directions either totally blanked me or looked at me like i was stupid and walked away before i could say "excuse me, could you...." after 15 minutes of being ignored on an extremely busy highstreet i simply forced the next person walking by into a door way and demanded some directions...

    "St pauls cathedral? thats a long way, you need to catch a tube"

    "How far?"

    "Ohh a long way"

    "How far?"

    "Maybe a mile?"

    Needless to say i was stunned, a mile is 15 minutes walk, 20 if you dawdle.....

  28. Dave Murray

    I had..

    peppered steak with mushroom cous-cous last night. Ah the Scottish diet is terrible, yes.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 26/08/09 13:10 GMT

    Eh?! I live and work in Birmingham and I can assure you that it can be *as bad* as London, and sometimes worse! Eye contact and body odour?! Try the Lichfield to Longbridge cross city line in the morning, that's if the train is on time, which would be a miracle! When they do arrive, getting a seat is as easy as getting one on the Circle in rush hour! The best curries in the UK are from Bradford - fact, and when did you last buy a pint from a bar in Brum? It's not that far south of £4 here eihter! I do wish you whining, bone-idle Brummies would loose that massive chip off your shoulders! Britain's Second City? Do me a favour! Other than that it's great in Birmingham. I can safely say that as a Londoner (no, not a cockney, I "grew up" West Hampstead) I don't enjoy living in Birmingham. It's shit.

  30. davenewman

    Missing a region

    At least East Anglia is still on the map. They have completely left out Northern Ireland.

  31. Richard IV

    re: Maths??

    The percentages shouldn't add up to 100%.

    Not many people live in the South West so a few thousand extra folk who think pasties have carrots in makes a big difference.

    10000 + 1000 = 10% rise

    100000 + 1000 = 1% rise


  32. Jessica Werkz

    It's all very well moving up north for all it's advantages

    ....but it's too bloody cold. The weather in the south is lousy enough so anywhere north of St John's Wood and you can fergeddabowdit.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Orange surveyed 3,281 office workers in the UK and discovered that 16% of them would take a £6,900 pay cut if they could pick where they worked"

    Maybe I'm missing something but didn't these people already pick where they work, or were they forced to work where they work?

  34. Marvin the Martian
    IT Angle

    Heading for the Midland hills?

    I had a scarifying with their bush, and will therefore avoid their hills as well.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    North East joins Scotland (or Scotland shrinks)!

    Going by the graphic it looks like the North East is either now part of Scotland or we (the Scottish) have lost yet more land to the English! I'm just waiting on some idiot renaming "Scotland" to be the North-North West. Clearly the idiot will live somewhere in the "South" (including London).

  36. Livinglegend

    Time to go!

    81% want to leave the Midlands. I can't wait for them to go as I live there and it would be a much quieter and better place to be.

  37. lukewarmdog

    To move, perchance to work

    Wishing you lived somewhere else is one of those greener grass optimisms that rarely pays off. Reality can be a right pain in the ass when it bites you.

  38. Juan Inamillion

    As any fule noe

    'oop north' is anywhere north of Watford Gap.

    So there.

  39. Ventilator

    No wonder people want to leave the Midlands...

    when the Orange coverage in the village I live in at weekends (I work in Preston during the week) in an almost flat area of the Midlands round the Leicestershire/Warwickshire and not far from Staffordshire borders is appalling. A deep-seated dislike for 02 and Vodafone and the fact that round the rest of the country I don't have any problems keeps me with Orange, but I wish to God they'd do something about coverage in some areas of the remote English countryside.

    I'm a Staffordshire lad and I'd love to work in the Midlands, spend more time at home with my other half (we're soppy enough to actually miss each other when we're not together) and enjoy the more relaxed life but as a freelance telecommunications engineer I have to go where the work is....apart from London. I just refuse to live or work there. Done it before, hated every minute and won't go back. One-way pavements during rush-hours morning and evening, people who either ignore you or assault you, perpetual grime, sardine-like 'comfort' on the tube and horrendously overpriced to boot.

    Feel free to abandon the Midlands, folks. Perhaps I'll be able to find a job there after you've all gone, and then maybe I can live the life I'd like to.

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. steeveed

    Dundee, could be better, but the lifestyle counts

    Living in Dundee: i can get accross town in 10 minutes; 10 mins from a good beach; 30mins from ~good surfing; 2.5 hrs to the west coast where i take my sea kayak most weekends.

    Job dont pay great but i get home for lunch and i wouldnt want to lose any of it for a job anywhere else in the UK.

    Kinda feel sorry for the peeps in the city or the sprawling midlands wasting all their free time in traffic and having no water play on after work in the evenings.

  42. Richard 102

    Odd how it seems like the US

    I am an American and have lived in quite a few areas of the country. I'm from the Midwest and I always have heard how terrible it is here. Yeah, the winters are rough, but not as grim as they are in New England. Yes, we have tornados, but Californians deal with earthquakes, drought, fires, race riots, and near-Scandanavian taxation; I'll take the tornados. Yes, the South is warmer, but as soon as the temperature hits 78F they stay inside because it's too hot, and they don't get winter frosts to kill of bugs and diseases. Etc etc etc. Every place sucks in its own way. Eventually I moved back to the Midwest to stay.

    But as I rove through this great land of ours, I meet quite a few transplanted Midwesterners. By and large, they would like to move back, but their job/family/etc prevent it. I guess you don't know what you miss until it's gone.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're not from Leicester then...

    ...not if they work in an office and have nye on £7,000 they could loose and still afford to eat.

  44. King Edward I


    I live in Birmingham (as a greasy tax dodging student ;)) and I love it. Could well envision living there after I finish Uni. Its compact, affordable and has everything I like in my life (beer, take aways cinemas and, when I'm flush, restaurants.) Only problem really is the Birmingham City/West Brom/Aston Villa (delete as applicable :P) fans!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Can't wait for the day when I can refer to Christmas as Christmas and not some stupid politically-correct-gone-mad-pseudo-multicultural term like Winterval."

    Erm I hate to break this to you old chap but the Winterval myth was exposed as hyperbolic tabloid tosh quite some time ago! Quite frankly I'm amazed to find anyone, let alone an el-reg reader, who still believes it. Do try to keep up, or better yet cancel your subscription to the Mail.

    Sorry to take this off topic!

  46. Kevin Dwyer


    Please don't come to Dorset, you wouldn't like it one bit. Especially the area around Poole, and the coast from Swanage to Lyme Regis, avoid it like the plague. :-p

  47. boris24

    Geography Lesson

    All this piece has taught me is that Manchester is in the West Midlands and anywhere outside London is called Scotland. If I was to work outside my native Manchester, home of Aston Villa and Warwick university, it would be to work in Northern Europe where the high speed rail links are a reality and salaries are realistic for people outside the banking industry.

  48. Peter Kay

    The figures are telling

    What it really shows is that people are unrealistic and don't want much change. Also, the people that want to live in a city centre are clearly not the same people who want to drop seven grand in their salary.

    Nothing is really surprising:

    When you're young, you want to go out a lot and find a partner.

    Once you've found a partner, the attraction of city centre living pales significantly.

    People still want to be part of a larger community rather than something really isolated (the number of people wanting to move to 'the mountains' remains extremely small).

    Personally I would live further into the countryside or up a mountain if I could get away with it, rather than right at the edge of the countryside but able to get to a major city within half an hour's train journey. It's all tradeoffs as I like being able to socialise so I stay where I am.

    I put my money where my mouth was and moved to somewhere with (at the time) poor connectivity. Being able to be on the moors within 15-20 minutes walk was and is worth any amount of dialup or ISDN.

  49. Stevie Silver badge


    [4 Ian McLaughlin] It was nae jest the pizza, ye ken. 'twas also the quality of yer phone wires that wuz in question,the noo.

    Private Frazer (Mrs).

  50. duncan campbell

    Title Required (?King?)

    Like most Canadians I am motivated to live/work where there are people I like

    and to hell with scenery: more rocks, lakes an' trees we got...

    From that point of view I'd prob'ly *prefer* to live in the Midlands: the comment

    about the local crazy talking you to death instead of trying to stab you brought

    me back to a wet November night 30 odd years ago in Doncaster. Nobody

    there wanted to prove they were "men" by having a go at the "Yank"... Not

    something I can say for some other parts there.


  51. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    The real problem

    Is that the retards we have placed in charge of the country read drivel like this report and conclude:

    a) lots of people want to move to the SE

    b) we must therefore cover the few remaining green bits with plastic rabbit hutches for them to inhabit.

    When they should be reasoning:

    1) there are already twice as many people in the SE as it can reasonably support in terms of transport infrastructure, service availability (if the SE were a separate country its population density would make the Netherlands look like Mongolia).

    2) therefore we should make it more attractive for people to live in other parts of the country (possibly by spending a bit more of central government revenues there); and

    3) relocate many more government jobs out of the SE (incidentally saving lots of dosh on salaries and building costs).

    Sadly, 1-3 can never happen, not just because it demands actual government rather than simply reacting to opinion poll surveys, but also because (3) involves Sir Humphrey giving up agreeable lunches at the Athenaeum and relocating to some god-forsaken spot he's never heard of.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My last house purchase....

    ...was based on the location being 15 meters above sea level. Then when global warming makes the sea rise 10 meters, I'll have a nice beachside house :)

  53. ElNumbre

    In the beginning, God created this Joke...

    Poole? In Dorset?

    Yes, its really quite agreeable.

    Anyway, yes, Birmingham & the Black Country - yeah its pretty turgid, but at least there's only a stabbing/shooting every OTHER day. I would like to move out of the county and perhaps out of the country should circumstances allow.

  54. Chris Jackson 1


    "while stripping Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester of 80 per cent of residents."

    Apart from going by your figures Leeds would lose 35% (Leeds is in Yorkshire FFS) and Manchester would lose 9.5% (Manchester is in the North West FFS).

    Get your geography right you load of London nancies.

  55. Rod MacLean

    @Oliver Mayes

    "The Midlands is not 'oop north', we're in the middle. The clue's in the name."

    You're not in the middle at all. What you refer to as "oop north" is in the middle. Take a map and measure the distance from the furthest north of mainland UK and the most southerly part. Where's the middle? Midlands? I think not chum.

    As I'm from Scotland, you're all a bunch of southerners. I hated London due to the pollution, crowded trains and the way no-one seems to care. I hated it so much in fact that I have avoided going there at all costs for the last 10 years ;)

  56. Rob


    Crap survey, about a year ago I moved further away from London (on the hope that I could avoid travelling into it everyday for various contracts, it worked btw), I now live Dorset way and feel better for it. Funnily enough I've come across a lot of poeple that lived in the green belt areas around london that have done the same although they aren't all office workers, hence I thin the survey is shite.

    This is Orange we talking about, they stopped having a clue what reality was along time ago.

  57. northern monkey
    Thumb Down


    ...people from the north west, wales and south-east have the most loyalty to where they live, people find cider alluring, the brummy accent repulsive, leicester boring and find the north sea wind in winter perhaps the single most depressing thing you can ever have to face, especially when you're already feeling pretty crap.

    Oh, and Orange have shit geography, which explains why they seem to put their masts away from where people actually need them. Though out of interest it would be nice to see what this map turns out like now they've announced getting up and down the east coast is going to be even less easy in comparison to the west coast (and conversely getting from birmingham to london is going to take 46 minutes) by 2030, or whatever arbitrary target they set on the high-speed train.

  58. oliversalmon

    We don't want you

    If you can't handle life in London, you're obviously a bunch of soft c*cks who are better off up north with your whippets and ferrets. Thankfully we have lots of nice hard working foreigners to replace you. The sooner London gets its independence and can stop subsidising the shambles that is the rest of the UK the better ;-)

  59. Equitas

    Heading for the hills of Scotland?

    They'll be well clear of any coverage on the Orange network, then :-)

  60. Alex King

    Lazy Scottish stereotypes

    Hoots mon, we all wear Tam O'Shanters and kilts and eat three deep fried mars bars every day whilst buggering a sheep. I wonder if El Reg is based in London by any chance? It is? Well there's a big fecking surprise. Why don't you toddle off home in your bowler hat and don't forget to tip it to the pearly kings and queens on every corner while you munch on your jellied eels.

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