Despite having the highest incomes, people in Britain have the worst quality of life in Europe, a study shows.
According to the uSwitch.com European Quality of Life Index, Britons have longer working hours, lower holiday entitlement and a higher cost of living than their counterparts in other European countries, placing them at the bottom of the list in survey.
The United Kingdom also has the highest net household income at £35,730 ($56,000) a year, more than £10,000 ($16,000) above the European average.
But much of this is eaten up by the higher cost of living on the British Isles.
“We earn substantially more than our European neighbors, but this level of income is needed just to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and our homes warm,” Ann Robinson, head of consumer policy at the British firm said.
Britain is also the second most expensive country in Europe for unleaded petrol, where diesel costs 20 percent more then the European average. Food prices are also higher there.
When it comes to health and education spending, Britain ranks near the bottom of the list again and has a below average life expectancy.
By contrast, the French and the Spaniards have the best quality of life out of Europe’s biggest countries — including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Britain.
They retire earlier, live longer and have more paid holidays than the average, and while they earn less, they have some of the lowest food, electricity and gas prices.
“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,” Robinson said.
The report also warned that Britain’s quality of life was likely to fall further because of the recession, which has pushed unemployment to nearly 2.5 million and will likely result in public spending cuts.