THURROCK’S civic leaders and local residents have sprung to the defence of the Borough after it was named the most miserable place in Britain in a Government survey.
The happiness index, produced by the Office of National Statistics, put our Borough bottom of the pile in a survey compiled over the past two years.
The survey, a key plank in the Government’s future policy planning strategy scored Thurrock a measly 7.09 in the average life satisfaction rate, far behind Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland who scored an average of 8.1.
It prompted several national newspapers and TV stations to feature Thurrock and a welter of negative publicity has disappointed local folk.
They say the survey has got it wrong - and far from being a terrible place to live and work, there’s lots to be proud and happy about in Thurrock.
Politicians have united to condemn the survey - and some of the media who have wallowed in Thurrock’s misery.
Prospective Labour parliamentary candidate Polly Billington went so far as to write to the Guardian newspaper, accusing it of “shallow reporting.”
The paper branded Thurrock the capital of misery and a cesspit, prompting Ms Billington to say: “The people of Thurrock deserve more respect than such a superficial exploration of their community.”
It was a rare show of unity for Ms Billington with Thurrock’s Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price, who has also been to the fore in defending the Borough.
She said: “I have considerable pride in representing Thurrock in Parliament. I regularly remind my colleagues of everything we have going for us.
“Miserable? I don’t think so. Spirited and frank yes. But I am not going to let the forthright expression of views of our people be used to talk Thurrock down. “
However Thurrock clearly has its critics! One Guardian reader from the Borough described it as a “grim, soul-destroying place.”