Teenage girls are more likely to fall pregnant in Burnley than anywhere else in the country.
The shocking statistic, released this week, has seen the town branded as “Britain’s teenage pregnancy capital”.
Overall Burnley has the 10th highest rate for underage conceptions in the country, but the rate of under 16 conceptions in Burnley is reducing, which is encouragingCounty Coun. Matthew Tomlinson
Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed Burnley saw more schoolgirls falling pregnant per head of population than anywhere else in England and Wales.
The town saw 53 under-16s fall pregnant - with 26 having abortions and 27 girls going on to become mums - at a rate of six for every 1,000 babies born.
The Burnley Express revealed last year that Burnley was ranked third highest on a list of towns and cities in England and Wales for conception rates among youngsters aged between 15 and 17 in 2012.
County Coun. Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “We’re pleased there has been a reduction in overall pregnancy figures for under-16s across the county.
“However, there are areas where this is still a problem. We are aware that overall Burnley has the 10th highest rate for underage conceptions in the country, but the rate of under 16 conceptions in Burnley is reducing, which is encouraging.
“We’re committed to reducing this number further and are currently recommissioning our sexual health services. We have completed work considering how we can improve the way we target specific areas where those falling pregnant aged 16 or under is a problem.
“Following on from this assessment, an improved service for young people will begin operating in Burnley from April next year
“We’re also continuing to work closely with GPs and pharmacists to make additional free contraception available and are supporting our local schools to deliver guidance on sex and relationships as part of their personal health and social education programmes.
“Young people can also visit Burnley Youth Zone or call Talk Zone for free, confidential advice about sex and relationships or any other issue they feel is important.”
Nationally, rates of conception for under-18s in England and Wales are at their lowest since records began, in 1969.
The Office for National Statistics states that research shows young women from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and those with poor educational outcomes are more likely to have a teenage pregnancy.
A spokesman for the NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “All general practices in East Lancashire offer contraceptive services.
“In addition many pharmacies offer an enhanced service to support young people in a non-judgemental way and offer service such as pregnancy testing, contraception including emergency hormone contraception and signposting to contraceptive and sexual health services.”