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More than 7 out of 10 babies in Blaenau Gwent 'born outside marriage or civil partnership'

Credit: Arno Burgi/DPA/PA Images

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says 73.2% of babies in Blaenau Gwent are born to unmarried parents.

The average for the whole of the UK is 48%.

In Merthyr Tydfil it's 70%.

Here are the full figures for the areas with the 10 highest and lowest percentages of live births outside marriage or civil partnership:

  • 1. Knowsley: 74.8%
  • 2. Blaenau Gwent: 73.2%
  • 3. Blackpool: 72.2%
  • 4. Hartlepool: 70.4%
  • 5. Merthyr Tydfil: 70%
  • = Redcar and Cleveland: 70%
  • 7. North East Lincolnshire: 69.1%
  • 8. Hull: 69%
  • 9. Halton: 67.4%
  • 10. Barnsley: 67.2%

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Bid to cut premature deaths

Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images

A new programme is being launched today to reduce the number of people in some of Wales’ most deprived communities from dying prematurely from heart disease and cancer.

Average life expectancy for men in Wales is 78.2 (2010-12) but life expectancy for men living in Blaenau Gwent is just 75.7 years – one of the five lowest in England and Wales.

Heart disease and cancer share many factors, like poor diet, little exercise, smoking and excess alcohol intake.

The Welsh Government says, in the first phase of the Living Well Living Longer programme, targeted support will be provided to people with the need by identifying those at the greatest risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The health check will include simple questions about lifestyle and family history. People will be offered a blood pressure, pulse and cholesterol check to assess their risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years.

Advice about diet and exercise, including, where appropriate, referral to exercise schemes or support from local smoking cessation services, will be offered.

Despite overall improvements in life expectancy, more needs to be done to address the unacceptable inequalities in health outcomes between Wales’ most and least deprived communities.

Much can be done through actions to tackle health inequalities at source – such as improving diet, doing more exercise, stop smoking and drinking alcohol responsibly.

– Vaughan Gethin AM, Deputy Health Minister.

Public inquiry into Circuit of Wales plans

A public inquiry will be held in June, to consider plans for a £280m racing track in Blaenau Gwent.

The Planning Inspectorate says the planning inquiry will start on 24 June, with its inspector writing a recommendation over whether the development should go ahead.

Developers hope to bring top-level motor racing to Ebbw Vale. Credit: Heads of the Valleys Development Company

Developers say the track will create thousands of jobs, and bring 750,000 visitors to the area each year - but there has been controversy over environmental concerns.

Says Kate Ashbrook, from the Open Spaces Society, said: ‘We objected most strongly to this ugly and intrusive development on a substantial area of common land. We are pleased that, in the light of the objections, the Planning Inspectorate has resolved that there should be a public inquiry."

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