COMMUNITY figures are championing Barrow, despite the town recently being revealed as having the biggest population decrease in England.

According to new statistics publishing by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Barrow has seen its population fall by 6.8 per cent – the biggest percentage decrease in England.

The biggest jumps have all been in London, with the borough of Tower Hamlets seeing a rise of 61.5 per cent, followed by Newham (41.6 per cent) and Hackney (35.6 per cent).

The figures show the change in estimated population size for local authority areas in the UK from mid-2001 to mid-2019.

Despite this, leader of Barrow Borough Council Ann Thomson, and MP Simon Fell have praised the town’s community and hope to see the figures turn around.

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: "We know that historic data covering a period from 2001 onwards shows a decline in Barrow's population, but this has slowed significantly in recent years.

"In fact, the decrease had stabilised to just 0.1 per cent in the most recently reported statistics - 2018 to 2019.

"We hope to continue this trend and work towards a positive increase in the years ahead because, actually, Barrow is a great place to live and work.

"The borough has incredible people and communities as well as offering affordable housing, employment, a beautiful coastline, space and an array of wildlife within its bounds - not to mention a thriving local sports scene with Barrow AFC promoted to the Football League and quality Rugby League.

"We need to do all we can to encourage people to make Barrow their home and to ensure young people see the benefits of staying in the place in which they have grown up for the longer term. Barrow is looking towards an exciting future with a number of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities ahead to help us address this very issue."

Mr Fell hopes the figures will turn around.

He said: “This is the single biggest challenge we have as a community - a declining and ageing population. Getting young people to stay and raise their families here, and encouraging others to move to Furness will bring huge benefits to our schools, local economy and community as a whole.

"Barrow is on the up - we have huge investment coming into the area over the next few years and with a fantastic community, great schools, the incredible environment on our doorstep, and good jobs, I hope we’ll see these figures start to turn around.”