Quality of life in Britain is the worst in Europe
The UK has been voted the worst place to live in Europe for quality of life, according to uSwitch.
The high cost of living, later retirement age and lack of holidays have pushed the UK into bottom place, behind Poland, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.
Top of the list for the third year running is France, second place goes to Spain, while Italy falls into third.
The study was conducted by looking at 16 different factors, including income and the cost of essential goods along, with lifestyle factors such as hours of sunshine, life expectancy, working hours and holiday entitlement.
Although the average net income in the UK is one of the highest in Europe, everyday living costs are far greater with the price of unleaded petrol, alcohol and cigarettes way above the European average.
Keen to escape
Today just 5% of us are happy living in the UK, while 12% admit to wanting to emigrate. When asked what the worst thing about living in the UK was, 59% said it was Britain's broken society, while 49% blamed the cost of living and 47% cited crime and violence.
Ann Robinson, spokesperson for uSwitch.com, says: "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. When coupled with many of the issues facing households in the UK today it's not surprising that one in ten of us have contemplated starting a new life abroad.
Five top destinations to retire abroad
"For those of us who decide to stay put and ride out the storm, there will be no choice but to batten down the hatches. Cutting back where possible to help combat our high living costs will go some way to improving our quality of life."
|Rank||Countries||VAT||Working hours per week||Number of holiday days per year||Retirement age||Cost of fuel (per litre)||Food prices (GBP)|
Invented by a Frenchman in 1954 and ironically introduced in the UK on 1 April 1973, VAT is an indirect tax levied on the value added in the production of goods and services, from primary production to final consumption and is paid by the buyer. Its levying is complex, with a number of exemptions and exclusions. For example, in the UK, VAT is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes and the non-VAT status of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes was challenged in a UK court case to determine whether Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit. The judge ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake, McVitie’s won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).