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Britain, Ireland lowest in Europe in quality of life: study

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Britain and Ireland have the highest average incomes in Europe but come bottom in terms of quality of life, while Spain and France are at the top of the index, according to a study published Wednesday.

Britons have to pay sky high prices for fuel, food and other essentials, while having among the shortest holidays, latest retirement age and lowest life expectancy, according to the survey of 10 European countries.

Ireland, which like Britain has seen a huge market-driven economic boom over the last decade, is even worse than its bigger neighbor, coming in last in the European Quality of Life Index by U-Switch, a British service comparison website.

"We may earn substantially more than our European neighbors but when it comes to quality of life we remain the sick man of Europe," said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com.

"Soaring food prices and inflation, not to mention high property costs, are placing the biggest squeeze on disposable incomes in well over a decade," she added, noting also below-average investment in health and education services.

The study assessed 19 factors affecting quality of life, ranging from income and working conditions to health care, education and cost of living.

Britons have an average net income of more than 35,000 pounds ($70,000) a year, about 10,000 pounds more than the European average, while Ireland comes second on more than 29,000 pounds.

But they pay between six to 18% more for fuel and 49% more for gas, not to mention spectacularly high housing costs. Ireland's gas bills are more than twice the European average.

At work Ireland comes worst in terms of retirement age, with an average of 64.1 years, followed by Britain on 63.2 years, while life expectancy is 78.1 years and 78.9 years respectively, the lowest barring Italy.

At the other end of the scale, Spaniards have the lowest average income, at some 16,800 pounds, but low taxation and cheaper essential goods prices put them at the top of the overall quality of life indicator.

France comes second, notably benefiting from the longest holidays in Europe at 40 days and the second-lowest retirement age at 58.9 years, just later than Poles who retire at 58.4 years old on average.

The findings come as Britain and Ireland face a sharp economic slowdown fueled by the global credit crunch, which is also threatening other European countries although they have enjoyed less of a boom in recent years.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Is that why so many can think of nothing better than getting plastered? You exist in England but you live in Spain.

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I know many French who can only pray to get a job outside of France. To the 20 something generation I know they would not agree with this article.

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I think money and holidays are not the key factors in quality of life. You must also count on a fair society, low criminality, working conditions, good weather, good food, open character of people...

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Spanishwoman - I agree

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I think money and holidays are not the key factors in quality of life. You must also count on a fair society, low criminality, working >conditions, good weather, good food, open character of people...

I think these are among the other assessed 19 factors affecting quality of life. The people who do these studies are professionals who have many intelects from various departments at their disposal, Im sure they dont need your advise.

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...and if they had chosen 19 different factors the list order could have been completely reversed. These "studies" are more like tabloid news.

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Spanishwoman - good on you, sound like you are talking about Australia perhaps the only true egalitarian society

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I like the way they package the message.Folks with the highest incomes,well,they enjoy the lowest quality of life.

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Without knowing what the full list of factors are, we can argue ad nauseum about their objectivity. But having just come back from a trip to Ireland, I can affirm that the cost of living there is astronomically high for the quality of life you get. I arrived in Japan at a time when, compared to Ireland and the UK, living here was very expensive. But it was compensated by lower taxes and safer streets, plus a host of more subjective benefits to being a gaijin in Japan. Not much has radically changed here, prices included, in the last 20 years. But in that time, the cost of living has increased several times over in Ireland, to the point where it's now more expensive than Japan. This country has its faults, but it's only when you visit a supposedly fellow first-world country like Ireland that you see the many things Japan has done right.

Now as to whether I prefer the cold, rainy Irish summer or the hot, humid Japanese one...I think the cold and rain takes it by a whisker.

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Life in Britain is low-quality, and thats a fact. British people are lied to by their government, especially Gordon Brown, who just wants to literally tax people to death. Petrol prices are astronomical, caused by the fact that more than 50% of the price is Tax. Food prices are also sky-high, and eating out is now beyond the reach of most ordinary British families. Crime is on the increase, as is racism. The service industries are atrocious. Give me Japan anyday with regard to the treatment of customers. Here, the customer is No.1. In Britain, the customer is just a nuisance. Shoddy service is the order of the day. Small wonder that over 40,000 British people decided to move to another country last year.

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"Petrol prices are astronomical, caused by the fact that more than 50% of the price is Tax."

Make that 80 odd percent.

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No offense to the British diet, but this is not surprising.

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realist wrote:

"Small wonder that over 40,000 British people decided to move to another country last year."

right, and most of them moved to France (though they are still working in Britain!)

Cammi:

"I know many French who can only pray to get a job outside of France. To the 20 something generation I know they would not agree with this article."

that's right, most of this generation want to get a job outside of France, however we love the quality of life in France, we enjoy to live in this wonderful country, I traveled often (not only in France) and I've never found such country like mine!

We (maybe only me here) live in the most touristy country and we are loving it! (whatever foreigners think, not everybody has the chance to live here!) Here, people are nice, friendly, happy and they don't mind who you are (poor or rich, skinny or fat, black or white ...). Maybe that what the British want to get.

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jeremyfr: are you sure France is the country you are talking about?

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Too bad the article does not provide a link to the study in question - I'd like to see all the criteria, the complete list of countries and all that. Oh well, I guess it's Google time!

On a related note - I think it should be mandated by law that articles on the Internet speaking about "a study" or "studies" always provide a link to it. Why? Because a study shows that 47,326% of people are morons, and will believe any outrageous claim if it's preceded by "a study shows"

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whoops, submitted too soon - the last sentence should read "Because a study shows that 47,326% of people are morons, and will believe any outrageous claim if it's preceded by "a study shows" without any fact checking or research whatsoever."

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