BLACKBURN with Darwen residents have less disposable income than almost anywhere else in the country, according to a new survey.

The report from the Office for National Statistics revealed the average household in the borough had just £11,582 to spend annually – compared to a massive £36,963 in West London.

The ONS study looked at 139 areas in the UK and measured the disposable income of each household. It found households within the Lancashire County Council area fared slightly better, with £15,109 on average to spend after tax.

The figures show the North-South divide with disposable cash is at its highest in Surrey, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London; lowest in Nottingham, Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen and Hull.

President of Blackburn Chamber of Trade Tony Duckworth said: “I am aware of these figures and I have to say it makes for very depressing reading.

“I know that in Blackburn and Darwen a lot of people are struggling on low incomes and there are a great many people, a worrying amount of people, who can’t afford their own home.

“Saying that, however, when you’re out and about in Blackburn town centre, we seem to have a very happy and very vibrant shopping community and businesses are doing well.

“My biggest concern for the area is those who are struggling on benefits and what can be done to improve their lives.

“Getting them a job and encouraging them to do better would give them more disposable income and so they would be able to contribute to the local economy.”