Was Channel Four right to say Huddersfield is the worst paid place in Britain?

That’s the question for #AskExaminer this week.

If you missed it, the claim was made on the show What Britain Earns, presented by business and fashion guru Mary Portas.

The programme, broadcast on November 22, delved into the pay packets of various professions and regions, with marketing boss Sir Martin Sorrell revealing his pay package was an astonishing £70m.

Huddersfield was given the rank of Britain’s worst paid town with London the best place to earn lots of money.

The programme said Huddersfield folk earned on average just £394 a week – a stunning £282 a week or £14,664 a year – less than London.

So was it right?

Straight off the bat we can say that Huddersfield is definitely not the worst paid part of Britain.

The latest Office for National Statistics say an average employee working in Kirklees earned £358 per week.

The alert among you will notice that is less than Channel Four’s claim – but within the ONS figures it is only the 51st worst in Britain.

The Castle Point district of Essex has the dubious honour of being bottom of the pile, with a meagre £297 per week.

The weekly earnings of those living in Kirklees are much higher as many residents commute to Leeds, Sheffield or Manchester, where wages are higher.

So where did Channel Four get its figure of £394 a week?

A spokesperson for the What Britain Earns show confirmed they had used a report by ‘think tank’ Centre For Cities.

In February 2016 its research identified Huddersfield as having the lowest earnings per week at £398.70. Their figure is bolstered by using a different statistical methods.

So why Channel Four broadcast a figure of £394 is not known. It must have been a mistake.

Further to that, a spokesman for Centre For Cities group admitted their data was actually Kirklees wide and not Huddersfield only data.

On top of that, the Centre For Cities study only tracks the 63 largest cities and towns and so lower earning areas could be found outside its remit.

Looking at Kirklees, it is well known that jobs in Huddersfield command higher earnings than those in Dewsbury.

Huddersfield is home to many well paid jobs at the council, the hospital, the university and a number of large industrial firms including Cummins Turbo Technologies and David Browns.

So to say Huddersfield is the worst paid town in Britain is clearly wrong as it isn’t even the worst paid town in Kirklees.

So in summary, it appears Channel Four has made a bit of a boo-boo and we can definitely say there are dozens of towns whose residents are paid lower than those in Huddersfield.

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