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Is the UK Really the Worst Place to Live in Europe?

Posted on the 29 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Is the UK really the worst place to live in Europe?

At least you can get a decent cup of tea in the UK. Photo credit: UggBoy♥UggGirl


The UK may today be basking in unseasonably wonderful sunny weather but life is not always this glorious. In fact, the UK is the worst place to live in Europe, with people getting a raw deal on quality of life and high cost of living, a study has revealed.

Comparison website uSwitch said that things were getting so bad that one in ten people in this country were considering emigrating, reported Press Association. The UK came bottom of a 10-country league table, covering working hours, VAT, holidays, spending on health and education – and hours of sunshine. Households in the UK struggled with a high cost of living, with food and diesel prices the highest in Europe, while unleaded petrol, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more than the European average, said the gloomy study, which also noted that people in the UK now have the lowest holiday entitlement in Europe as well as having one of the highest retirement ages.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “Last year at least our neighbours in Ireland were worse off, now we can’t even console ourselves with that. We are now officially at the bottom of the pile. We may still be enjoying the fourth highest household income in Europe, but the high cost of living means that we’re living to work.”

So where to head? France and Spain came out on top in the study’s quality of life index. France topped the index for the third year in a row, despite the average household annual net income being £7,000 below that of the UK.

At least Britons’ life expectancy isn’t that high! Sean Poulter of The Daily Mail found the findings thoroughly depressing, especially considering Britons’ quality of life is “lower even than Poland.” Poulter lamented that Britons enjoy an average of 28 days holiday a year, which compares with 36 in France, 38 in Poland and Sweden, and 39 in Spain. “Cynics will say the only bright point is that average British life expectancy is  lower than in many other nations, which means our  misery will be curtailed,” joked Poulter. The average Briton lives for 80.4 years, versus 81.4 in France, 81.6 in Italy and 81.9  in Spain.

Are you a Brit who is considering emigrating? Leave a comment.

Err, try Greece. Henry Deedes of The Daily Mail wondered whether the findings are really that fair. “God knows it sometimes feels like in the past week. On Sunday, I was forced to sit through an episode of Made in Chelsea, awful in itself if weren’t for the fact that its new star is Chloe Green, daughter of country’s most successful and dynamic businessman, Philip Green, who despite the opportunities open to her in life through her father’s immense wealth and unmatched contacts, has chosen to pursue a career in the toe-curling world of reality television.” Deedes attacked the “celebrity-obsessed culture which afflicts the UK today” but labelled the suggestion that standards of living in this country are worse than the rest of Europe as “just nonsense.” “For all our complaining, things by and large in Britain, do work. Take broadband, for example, which has transformed the way we live since it became commonplace at the beginning of the century.” Deedes reminded than millions of Italian and Spanish tourists flock to the UK every year and said to “those planning to emigrate I wish them fond farewell, and a word of advice. Give Greece a swerve.”

More happiness »


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