uSwitch Quality of Life Index: Spain second best, UK last

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Chopera Chopera 5 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #56395
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    The UK is the worst place to live in Europe, thanks to a combination of high living costs, a poor work-life balance and low government spending on healthcare and education, according to the latest uSwitch Quality of Life Index.

    This is the UK’s first year at the bottom of the Index, which calculates an overall quality of life score for ten European nations, based on 16 factors including net income, VAT and the cost of essential goods such as fuel, food and energy bills, as well as lifestyle issues like hours of sunshine, days holiday, working hours and life expectancy.

    The UK was joined at the bottom of the index by Sweden and Ireland, while France came first for the third year in a row, with Spain taking second place and the Netherlands third.
    Commenting on the findings, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said: “Last year at least our neighbours in Ireland were worse off, now we can’t even console ourselves with that.

    “We are now officially at the bottom of the pile. 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.”

    Despite having higher than average pay, the UK’s overall score in the uSwitch Quality of Life Index was dragged down by long working hours, the lowest number of holiday days a year, a high retirement age, the most expensive food, high energy prices and higher than average petrol costs, as well as very few hours of sunshine.

    The UK’s comparatively low investment in health and education also had a significant impact on its score, and with the government looking to cut public spending, things could get worse before they get better.

    The UK spends just 11.2% of GDP on health, which is higher than last year, but well below the European average of 12%; only Poland and Sweden spend less.

    The UK now spends less on education than it did in 2010 too – falling below the average again at just 5.36% of GDP.

    The high cost of living is also a significant reason for the UK coming at the bottom of the Index; the average household energy bill stands at £1,273 a year, while food and diesel prices are the highest in Europe and alcohol is the third most expensive.

    The UK’s working culture also lowers the overall score: UK workers put in an average of 36.4 hours a week, retire at 63 and get just 28 days holiday a year.

    With quality of life in the UK now the worst in the Index, an accompanying poll found that nearly half (46%) of those questioned have thought about emigrating.

    France may have achieved the highest Quality of Life score, but most people would actually prefer to live in Spain, which took second place.

    In a poll, 13% of Brits said that if they could live in any European country they would choose Spain, while 7% chose France.

    Spain has more to offer would-be expats than the obvious sunshine: the Spanish can expect to live a year longer than people in the UK, they have the highest number of days holiday in Europe and the lowest prices for alcohol.

    Social issues were not included in the Index, but they are concern many people in the UK.

    A uSwitch poll found that the the worst thing about living in the UK at the moment was the ‘broken society’, the second biggest concern was immigration, while unemployment and job security came third, followed by the cost of petrol and the weather.
    Ann Robinson commented: “It’s not surprising that one in ten of us (12%) have seriously 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.

    “Cutting back where possible to help combat our high living costs will go some way to improving our quality of life.

    “This may be the only way to steer through these turbulent times until we reach a point where we can start to see our quality of life improve.”

    http://www.uswitch.com/news/money/uswitch-quality-of-life-index-uk-is-the-worst-place-to-live-in-europe-900002286/

  • #106011
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    maybe if we stopped giving bailout money to everyone and cut foriegn aid then we would be in alot better position with extra to spend on the nhs and education for our kids so we don’t need foriegn workers to come and fill jobs no one hear is qualified to do.That all said i am happy i am in the uk at the moment as if i was in spain i would be another of the great unemployed builders who are living off of the state oh no thats right spainish builders are all living on fresh air and family members

  • #106211
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    maybe if we stopped giving bailout money to everyone and cut foriegn aid then we would be in alot better position with extra to spend on the nhs and education for our kids so we don’t need foriegn workers to come and fill jobs no one hear is qualified to do.That all said i am happy i am in the uk at the moment as if i was in spain i would be another of the great unemployed builders who are living off of the state oh no thats right spainish builders are all living on fresh air and family members

  • #106012
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    Interesting that there are no indicators like GDP to debt ratio, price of housing, or even a ‘sustainability-factor’ built into the indicators that are being used.

    But I am guessing that Spain would still place 1st or 2nd.

  • #106212
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    Interesting that there are no indicators like GDP to debt ratio, price of housing, or even a ‘sustainability-factor’ built into the indicators that are being used.

    But I am guessing that Spain would still place 1st or 2nd.

  • #106013
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Hmmm. I didn’t realise that low prices for alcohol and cigarettes contributed to “quality of life”. I also don’t know any spaniard who gets that amount of days holiday. It’s not so much how much is spent on public services it is what they do with the money. Did they count benefits like rent and council tax paid plus all the rest. There are millions of people in Spain without any source of income whatsoever. When unemployment benefit runs out after a year or two there is absolutely nothing. Some quality 🙄 Weather is better though that will cheer up everyone who has been thrown out onto the street :mrgreen:

  • #106213
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Hmmm. I didn’t realise that low prices for alcohol and cigarettes contributed to “quality of life”. I also don’t know any spaniard who gets that amount of days holiday. It’s not so much how much is spent on public services it is what they do with the money. Did they count benefits like rent and council tax paid plus all the rest. There are millions of people in Spain without any source of income whatsoever. When unemployment benefit runs out after a year or two there is absolutely nothing. Some quality 🙄 Weather is better though that will cheer up everyone who has been thrown out onto the street :mrgreen:

  • #106014
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @katy wrote:

    Hmmm. I didn’t realise that low prices for alcohol and cigarettes contributed to “quality of life”. I also don’t know any spaniard who gets that amount of days holiday. It’s not so much how much is spent on public services it is what they do with the money. Did they count benefits like rent and council tax paid plus all the rest. There are millions of people in Spain without any source of income whatsoever. When unemployment benefit runs out after a year or two there is absolutely nothing. Some quality 🙄 Weather is better though that will cheer up everyone who has been thrown out onto the street :mrgreen:

    especially if there is another winter like last year,there is going to be alot of wet and miserable spanish

  • #106214
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @katy wrote:

    Hmmm. I didn’t realise that low prices for alcohol and cigarettes contributed to “quality of life”. I also don’t know any spaniard who gets that amount of days holiday. It’s not so much how much is spent on public services it is what they do with the money. Did they count benefits like rent and council tax paid plus all the rest. There are millions of people in Spain without any source of income whatsoever. When unemployment benefit runs out after a year or two there is absolutely nothing. Some quality 🙄 Weather is better though that will cheer up everyone who has been thrown out onto the street :mrgreen:

    especially if there is another winter like last year,there is going to be alot of wet and miserable spanish

  • #106015
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Apart from pure statistics judging the quality of life in different countries is a subjective business.
    People live mostly in countries which will provide them with a living which is often the reason so many don’t/can’t leave.
    Earning a good living in another European country is not easy, especially in France and Spain, even for the indigenous people.
    Quality of life for the individual then really comes down principally to earning a decent living and I would suggest the UK is near the top of the table in that respect.
    Everything else, important though they are is surely just the icing on the cake.
    Man has traditionally always migrated to where the best living is to be had, otherwise we would still be living in central Africa.
    One of the reasons why so many European countries have such a debt pile is because of social welfare spending.
    The healthcare system in France from which I personally have benefited from is one of the best in the world but it costs an absolute fortune.
    Post war Europe has had a standard of living undreamed of by earlier generations. I suggest that is now coming to an end very soon and we Europeans are all going to have to live within our means.
    It will be interesting to read the same uSwitch quality of life index in 10 years time.
    I very much doubt France and Spain will be at the top.

  • #106215
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Apart from pure statistics judging the quality of life in different countries is a subjective business.
    People live mostly in countries which will provide them with a living which is often the reason so many don’t/can’t leave.
    Earning a good living in another European country is not easy, especially in France and Spain, even for the indigenous people.
    Quality of life for the individual then really comes down principally to earning a decent living and I would suggest the UK is near the top of the table in that respect.
    Everything else, important though they are is surely just the icing on the cake.
    Man has traditionally always migrated to where the best living is to be had, otherwise we would still be living in central Africa.
    One of the reasons why so many European countries have such a debt pile is because of social welfare spending.
    The healthcare system in France from which I personally have benefited from is one of the best in the world but it costs an absolute fortune.
    Post war Europe has had a standard of living undreamed of by earlier generations. I suggest that is now coming to an end very soon and we Europeans are all going to have to live within our means.
    It will be interesting to read the same uSwitch quality of life index in 10 years time.
    I very much doubt France and Spain will be at the top.

  • #106016
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    “very much doubt France and Spain will be at the top.”
    Interesting Logan. Who do think will be there in the top & bottem three ?

  • #106216
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    “very much doubt France and Spain will be at the top.”
    Interesting Logan. Who do think will be there in the top & bottem three ?

  • #106018
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Impossible to call Shakeel but those countries who reduce their welfare spending have a better chance to produce prosperity through lower taxation, allowing their population to provide for themselves.
    The alternative is, as anyone who has credit card debt knows, your income simply serves the banks. Indebted nations are no different.
    Except, as the current talks in Brussels show nations can receive debt forgiveness and start all over again.
    Try that with your own bank. 😆

  • #106218
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Impossible to call Shakeel but those countries who reduce their welfare spending have a better chance to produce prosperity through lower taxation, allowing their population to provide for themselves.
    The alternative is, as anyone who has credit card debt knows, your income simply serves the banks. Indebted nations are no different.
    Except, as the current talks in Brussels show nations can receive debt forgiveness and start all over again.
    Try that with your own bank. 😆

  • #106019
    Profile photo of Chris McCarthy
    Chris McCarthy
    Participant

    Ha!

    There is just no pleasing some people!

  • #106219
    Profile photo of Chris McCarthy
    Chris McCarthy
    Participant

    Ha!

    There is just no pleasing some people!

  • #106220
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    No doubt, Spain’s real estate bubble, that nobody IN EUROPE complained about while it was happening, contributed greatly to the fiscal problems, including today’s high rate of unemployed. And this bubble arrived with the formation of the EU and that added to the confusion and complacency.

    Regarding quality of life and how to get out of the fiscal messes, austerity may work where unemployment is in check. But Spain’s debt is (was?) below that of Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, etc, and unemployment is very high, so austerity is not going to help much. A spending program to create sustainable employment is the only thing that is going to help Spain out. I know that some of you will cringe when you read this.

    And the quality of life index, as weak as it is, is relative. Unless taxes on foreigners go way up or the number of days of sunshine diminish, I don’t see Spain dropping much in rank. Or maybe I should say, I don’t see the UK rising much.

  • #106221
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    If this is the same Uswitch that compares gas/electric deals I would steer clear of them looking at some of those stats 😆

  • #106222
    Profile photo of peterhun
    peterhun
    Participant

    The UK spends just 11.2% of GDP on health, which is higher than last year, but well below the European average of 12%; only Poland and Sweden spend less.

    That doesn’t seem right, I thought the figure was 7-8% for both the UK and EU?

    UK is set at 7.5% here

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_tot_exp_as_of_gdp-health-total-expenditure-gdp

    here, more up to date figures say 9.8%

    http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,2340,en_2649_34631_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html

    Interesting that Poland beats the UK. Food and the cost of living is very cheap but public health care is poor.

    Spain: and the lowest prices for alcohol.

    Another suspect stat; Poland is far cheaper for booze than Spain. Food in Poland is the second lowest in the EU, 40% below average. Thats is not reflected in the numbers.

    @logan wrote:

    Apart from pure statistics judging the quality of life in different countries is a subjective business.
    People live mostly in countries which will provide them with a living which is often the reason so many don’t/can’t leave.
    Earning a good living in another European country is not easy, especially in France and Spain, even for the indigenous people.
    Quality of life for the individual then really comes down principally to earning a decent living and I would suggest the UK is near the top of the table in that respect.

    I have to agree, looking at the numbers I don’t see how you can weight which of those figures to determine what matters. Being unemployed sure makes your quality of life **** no matter how much the sun shines or the VAT rate (!!). The biggest cost, housing, has been excluded.

  • #106223
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @garysfbcn wrote:

    No doubt, Spain’s real estate bubble, that nobody IN EUROPE complained about while it was happening, contributed greatly to the fiscal problems, including today’s high rate of unemployed. And this bubble arrived with the formation of the EU and that added to the confusion and complacency.

    Plenty of people in Spain (and the UK) complained about the real estate bubbles. And plenty of us predicted it would end in tears. But since the worse affected by the bubble tended to be young and therefore from a small demographic, and with no lobbying power, they were ignored by the politicians, banks, and the mainstream media (who were busy filling their boots at the time).

  • #106224
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    As usual the stats are completely subjective, e.g.:

    A country can have a high average household income, but also on average have large extended families all squeezed into one household. In some countries people tend to leave home at much younger ages than others, and get by on much lower incomes. In the UK students live away from home while in Spain most students stay at home.

    I know nobody in Spain who has 39 days holiday a year – maybe the teachers get that – but on average? No way.

    And I can’t see how high tobacco prices can be seen as a bad thing, unless you one of the minority who smoke.

  • #106225
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    Oh and they forget to include some of the most important measures of quality of life: the ability to control your destiny, to choose your career, to make your own choices, to own your own house, etc. Looking at that report you’d think all the young Germans would be migrating to Spain, not the other way around.

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