A PENSIONER wellbeing index has revealed a north/south divide when it comes to the best places in the country to retire to.
North Yorkshire is the only area in northern England to feature in the top 20 places to live a long, healthy and safe retirement, according to a survey compiled by insurer Prudential.
The league table is dominated by the south west of England, with Devon coming out top, Dorset second and Gloucestershire (7), Wiltshire (12), Somerset (13) and Cornwall (19) all featuring.
The index, which covers England and Wales, was calculated through census data and from research carried out by the insurer.
North Yorkshire is 10th in the table, which also includes a number of counties in the south of England.
Age UK said wide variations in the quality of life for older people should be tackled urgently.
The research found that among people retiring in 2015, more than one third (36 per cent) of those in the south west expect to be able to afford to leave an inheritance to their families - well above the UK average of 29 per cent.
The largely rural make-up of Devon contributed towards a relatively low crime rate, while the county’s pensioner life expectancy is in the national top 10 for both men and women.
Devon was also found to have an above-average number of healthcare workers per 1,000 people, at 65.6 compared with a national average of 60.9.
Pensioners in Dorset have the longest life expectancies. The average 65-year-old woman there can expect to live for another 23 years and the average 65-year-old man another 20 years.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “More and more of us are living longer in better health but there is still a significant variation in how many years people can expect to live in good health depending on the part of the country they live in.
“If we want a country where older people everywhere can expect to enjoy a well-deserved healthy retirement, this is something which needs to be addressed urgently.”
The findings were welcomed in North Yorkshire which previously scored well in another survey, in 2012, when Craven was found to be the best area in the country to retire to.
Clare Wood, Executive Member for Adult Social Care at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “It is very gratifying that the benefits and delights of North Yorkshire as an extremely healthy and pleasant place to which to retire have been recognised in this way.
“We’re delighted that the support services provided by the County Council, the district councils, the health service and all our other partners have given North Yorkshire a place in the Top Ten, and the only place from the North of England in the Top Twenty.
“The number of older people in North Yorkshire is rising all the time, in large part as a result of these factors.
“This means, of course, that compared with some of our neighbouring counties and districts, we have to find a disproportionately larger amount of money and resources to maintain that high quality of life – a fact which is unfortunately sometimes overlooked when funding is being apportioned.”