The UK has been named the worst place to live in Europe for quality of life, behind countries with damaged economies such as Ireland and Italy, according to the latest uSwitch quality of life index.
The UK emerged as having the second-lowest hours of sunshine a year, the fourth-highest retirement age and the third-lowest spent on health as a percentage of GDP.
Despite an above-average household income, Britons have 5.5 fewer days holiday a year than the European average and endure a below-average government spending on education.
UK households also struggle with a high cost of living, with food and diesel prices the highest in Europe, and unleaded gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes all costing more than the European average.
As a result, more than one in 10 Britons (12 percent) said they are seriously considering emigrating, with “broken society” the biggest concern for 59 percent of those questioned, followed by the cost of living (49 percent) and crime and violence (47 percent). Just 5 percent of those questioned are happy in the UK.
The study examined 16 factors to determine where the UK sits in relation to nine other major European countries. Variables such as net income, VAT and the cost of essential goods were put under the microscope, as well as lifestyle factors such as hours of sunshine, holiday entitlement, working hours and life expectancy.
France bagged the top spot for the third year running, despite families earning an average ￡31,767 (US$49,800) and working longer hours than people in the UK. However, the French enjoy 2,124 hours of sunshine, have an average retirement age of 60 and receive 36 days of holiday a year. They also live a year longer than Brits, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years compared with 80.4 in the UK.
Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany rounded out the top five best European countries for quality of life, with Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Ireland also above the UK in the table.
Last year Ireland was joint bottom with the UK.
The study weighted each category to nationally representative criteria using sources such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Met Office, the World Health Organization and Eurostat. It then calculated a standardized score, defining quality of life as the sum of the standardized scores.
“Last year at least our neighbors in Ireland were worse off, now we can’t even console ourselves with that. We are now officially at the bottom of the pile ... it is not surprising that one in 10 of us have contemplated starting a new life abroad. But for those of us who decide to stick it out and ride the storm, there will be no choice but to batten down the hatches,” Ann Robinson of uSwitch.com said.
“Cutting back where possible to help combat our high living costs will go some way to improving our quality of life,” Robinson said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies