TEENAGE pregnancy rates in Worcestershire have fallen to their lowest level on record.

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 157 conceptions to girls under 18 in the county in 2015, a decrease of 20 per cent from 2014.

There were 16.3 pregnancies out of every 1,000 teenage girls in Worcestershire in 2015, compared to 20 out of every 1,000 girls the previous years.

Teen pregnancy rates in Worcestershire are well below those nationally – which are also at their lowest rate since records began.

Across England and Wales in 2015 there were 20,351 conceptions to girls under 18, a 10 per cent decrease from 2014.

That means there were 21 pregnancies out of every 1,000 teenage girls in 2015, compared with 47.1 in 1969 when comparable records began.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: "It is good news that the rate of teenage pregnancy continues to decline, as it is linked to poor future health for both parents and babies.

"We want to maintain this downward trend and support young people to make informed choices so that they can secure the best possible future for them and their children."

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association's community and wellbeing board, said: "The Government's decision to make sex and relationships education compulsory in schools will help young people to develop healthy relationships, delay early pregnancy, and look after their sexual health.

"However, we are concerned that all this good work could be put at risk by the false economy of cuts to councils' public health funding, and that the drop in teenage conception rates will be even harder to sustain.

"Getting it right on teenage pregnancy will not only make a difference to individual lives, it will help narrow inequalities and reduce long-term demand on health and social care services."