NEW data from UCAS shows that the South West has the lowest amount of 18-year-olds applying for university, with Yeovil in the bottom ten per cent. 

Figures reveal that just 25.7 per cent of 18-year-olds from Yeovil applied for university in 2017. 

The average for the South West was 32 per cent, compared to London where the application rate stands at 47 per cent. 

Nicola Dandridge chief executive of Universities UK, said an advisory group set up last year to look at application rates had acknowledged that "disadvantage is deeply entrenched in our society".

"While the economic and social position of a student's family has the greatest impact on their access to university, the geographical location of where they live is also increasingly being recognised.

"While there are no quick and easy solutions, the report recommended that universities should work even more closely with schools and colleges in a range of ways."

Fifty-nine local authority areas were ranked in the lowest ten per cent, with Bridgwater and West Somerset placed at number 56 and Yeovil at 51. 

The lowest ranking area was Conservative-led Havant, South East, with 17.4 per cent.

A Department for Education spokesman said application rates for 18-year-olds and poorer youngsters are at record levels.

"The reforms we are bringing in through the Higher Education and Research Bill will mean even more people can benefit from a university education," he said.

"As well as placing a duty on the Office for Students to ensure institutions do more to attract students from every background, we have also invested £120 million in the National Collaborative Outreach Programme to help young people get the opportunity they deserve to study at university."