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UK Has Poorest Quality of Life 2009-10-12

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Europe, Health, Money.
Tags: , , , ,

According to the UN, the UK has been ranked the 21st best place in the world to live prior to the recession, and a recent uswitch report puts the UK as having the worst quality of life in Europe.

The report highlights the long hours, bad weather, low life expectancy and high price of many consumer goods in Britain.

In a study of ten of the largest European countries, Britain comes last followed by Ireland — with France and Spain topping the table.

Though British households enjoy the highest income, at 35 730 GBP/year, 10 325 GBP/year higher than the European average, British families have to contend with a high cost of living, with fuel, food and alcohol all costing more than the European average.

With a litre of unleaded petrol at 1.08 GBP/litre, Britain is the second most expensive country in Europe. However, diesel is more expensive in Britain than anywhere else in Europe – 1.13 GBP/litre, which is 0.19 GBP/litre (or 20 per cent) above the European average of 0.94 GBP/litre.

The report by price comparison website uSwitch analyses 10 European countries against 17 different benchmarks — from the price of gas, electricity, fuel, food and drink — to the amount each country spends on education, health, working conditions and the weather.

The top three countries are France, Spain and Denmark, with Sweden, Ireland and Britain coming eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

  • The study comes less than a week after The United Nations moved Britain out of the top 20 list of most desirable countries to live in for the first time.

While France and Germany were initially hit hard by the global financial crisis, both have officially exited their recessions, while Britain has yet to confirm this has happened. Later this week, despite signs of recovery in the housing market and buoyant retail sales, there is expected to be grim economic news with unemployment predicted to have climbed to above 2.5 million for the first time since 1994.

The uSwitch report indicated that Britain suffers from the lowest number of days holiday per year, with the average worker entitled to 26 days, well below Spain on 41. British consumers also pays the highest prices for diesel, food and the country spends below the European average, as a percentage of GDP, on health, and education. It also has the 4th lowest life expectancy in Europe, at 78.9 years, compared with above 80 years in France, Italy and Sweden and workers retire later than most of their European counterparts.

Ms.Ann Robinson, The Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said:

There is more to good living than money and this report shows why so many Brits are giving up on the UK and heading to France and Spain.

‘We earn substantially more than our European neighbours, but this level of income is needed just to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and our homes warm.

‘It’s giving us a decent standard of living, but it’s not helping us achieve the quality of life that people in other countries enjoy.’

The UK has been ranked the 21st best place in the world to live — flagging behind Ireland and Iceland.

The UN list, which saw Norway retain its status as the world’s most desirable place to live, ranks sub-Saharan African states afflicted by war and AIDS as the worst.

Data collected prior to the global economic crisis showed people in Norway, Australia and Iceland had the best living standards, while Niger, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone scored worst in terms of human development.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) index was compiled using 2007 data on GDP per capita, education, and life expectancy, and showed marked differences between the developed and developing world.

‘Despite significant improvements over time, progress has been uneven,’ UNDP said in a statement.

‘Many countries have experienced setbacks over recent decades, in the face of economic downturns, conflict-related crises and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and this was even before the impact of the global economic crisis was felt.’

Life expectancy in Niger was 50, about 30 years shorter than Norway, according to the index. For every USD earned per person in Niger, 85 USD was earned in Norway.
Liechtenstein has the highest GDP per capita at 85 383  USD in a tiny principality home to 35 000 people, 15 banks and more than 100 wealth management companies.

People were poorest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where average income per person was 298 USD/year.

Five countries — China, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and France — climbed three or more places from the previous year, driven by greater earnings and longer life expectancy.

China, Colombia and Venezuela also scored better due to improvements in education.

UNDP, which has published the index annually since 1990, said human development had improved globally by 15 percent since 1980, with China, Iran and Nepal the biggest climbers in the chart.

  • The top 21 ranked states in the latest Human Development Index, which refers to data compiled in 2007, was prior to the world economic crisis.

Top 21 countries in the world to live based on data from 2007, according to the UN:

01. Norway
02. Australia
03. Iceland
04. Canada
05. Ireland
06. Netherlands
07. Sweden
08. France
09. Switzerland
10. Japan
11. Luxembourg
12. Finland
13. United States
14. Austria
15. Spain
16. Denmark
17. Belgium
18. Italy
19. Liechtenstein
20. New Zealand
21. United Kingdom


1. Julan - 2009-10-17

That’s a hell of a difference between Australia and neighbouring New Zealand. Same surprising difference between Norway, Sweden and Finland. The first Mediterranean (warm) country is France at 8th! Maybe that’s because France has the best health service?

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