Berwick: you can live there, but you can't work there

The North East's frontier town has been hailed as a great place to live, but not a great place to work. Berwick upon Tweed has been the focus of research by Newcastle University's Centre for Rural Economy, which wanted to investigate the working habits of people living in England's most northerly town.

The daily commute of Berwick residents was the main focus of the study, as many of the town's inhabitants travel to Newcastle or Edinburgh to work.

Those questioned in the survey said they choose to travel by train because it is convenient, quicker, less tiring and not as stressful as driving and makes more economic sense than travelling by car (particularly due to steady increases in fuel prices). Environmental concerns were not a major factor in their decision.

Dr Jane Atterton, who conducted the study, said: "People choose to live in Berwick because of the high quality of life, the local scenery, coastline and landscape and the links to major transport routes. "However, they are forced to find work in either Newcastle or Edinburgh due to a limited market locally for well-paid jobs, particularly in skilled and professional occupations.

"Many commuters feel that encouraging inward investment should be a priority in future to help bring more of these types of jobs to the town. The disadvantages of commuting, particularly in terms of money and time, mean that many people who are currently travelling long distances to work would consider changing their job to work locally instead, if better opportunities were available."

There was a relatively even split between those who wanted Berwick to develop stronger links with Edinburgh or Newcastle, with some also believing that maintaining strong ties with both of its city neighbours would be more beneficial for the town than favouring one over the other.

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