UK and Ireland: Worst Places To Live in Europe

Published: 22 September 2010 By MoneyHighStreet Staff Leave a Comment

The UK and Ireland were found to be the worst places to live in Europe, whereas Spain and France had the best quality of life scores in a recent study.

Quality of lifeThe latest Quality of Life Index published by uSwitch has painted a poor picture about the standard of living in the UK. We Brits now have the worst quality of life in Europe, along with Ireland.

Brits once enjoyed the highest net income in Europe, however this, too, has fallen behind the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.

The study looks at a range of factors that contribute to standard of living. These include retirement age, holiday entitlements, spending on education and health and the costs of buying everyday items such as food and petrol.

Sadly, the UK now fares badly with most of these factors. The UK retirement age is the 4th highest in Europe and is set to go higher, UK workers receive a week less holiday entitlement, on average, than their European counterparts and the UK’s spend on education is on par with that of Poland.

The UK also fares badly with life expectancy – one year, on average lower than in Spain, for example, and hours of sunshine, which is of little surprise.

“Last year compared with our European neighbours we were miserable but rich, this year we’re miserable and poor. Whereas some countries work to live, UK consumers live to work. In fact we work harder, take less holiday and retire later than most of our European counterparts – but the high cost of living makes this a necessity rather than a choice. With salaries failing to keep up with inflation, it’s likely that we’re a long way from achieving the quality of life that people in other countries enjoy.”, says Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com.

“The picture looks bleak for British consumers with confidence crumbling as the reality of the Government’s deficit reduction starts to bite. Uncertainty over jobs, interest rates and taxes has left nearly half of consumers (45%) concerned about their finances and more than 24 million (49%) feeling worse off than ever before.”

“Perhaps unsurprisingly given how life in the UK compares, three in ten people believe that now is a good time to emigrate”, she added.

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