Newly released government job figures have led to a huge rise in people seeking to live in Rochdale. Houses are being purchased quicker than the local council can demolish them, to make way for new low cost housing.
The government figures driving this boom are highlighting the high standard of living, which is to be had in the city. With the highest unemployment rate in Britain, a staggering 84% of residents are without work. This is proving to be a major attraction for people in other parts of northern England. Large numbers are moving from Breckfield in Liverpool and Middlehaven in Middlesbrough, where only 68% and 67% respectively are unemployed. Significant population shift is also being seen in Blackburn, the Wirral and parts of Birmingham.
Not only is there the attraction of a vastly reduced chance of employment, but shrewd investors have seen an opportunity to make a killing on property. Currently, a three bedroomed semi in Rochdale typically sells for about 150 quid. This is up from 120 quid last month and values are expected to break through the 200 quid barrier by Christmas. If current inward migration continues, who knows where prices will stop?
Local businesses are gearing up to meet the extra custom. Bob Mucus-Membrane, owner of the local greasy spoon which offers a cooked breakfast and a can of Stella for under a fiver, said "I've had to order six more cases of Stella this week. I've also asked the council to relocate the bus stop outside, so I can put some tables and chairs out there. It's gonna be like our own little bit of Paris".
However, it is not such good news for everybody. Two benefits offices have had to close in Breckfield and Middlehaven, due to all of their claimants moving to Rochdale. The Mayor of Breckfield, Arturus Bronislovas, was unable to comment, as he was busy loading his furniture and house contents onto a 3 ton Bedford lorry. He is understood to have bought a house in Rochdale.
Government sources seem happy for this internal migration to continue. Welfare minister Bill Lazy-Bastard said, "As Rochdale has a lower life expectancy rate than Tajikistan, it will be cheaper for us in the long run, as people will claim benefits for shorter periods of time. Currently, we are looking at moving the entire populations of Thanet, Sparkbrook, Kings Norton and Darwen to the Rochdale area".