Britain the "worst place to live in Europe"

Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:52pm EDT
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By Georgina Cooper

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain has been designated the worst place to live in Europe, compared with nine other major countries, despite the fact that Brits earn by far the highest wages.

Life in sun-soaked Spain or in France, where people retire earlier and live longer, was judged to be the best by researchers at in the latest European Quality of Life index.

Earning 35,730 pounds ($56,410) a year on average, Brits are 10,000 pounds ($15,790) richer than their European neighbors, but that doesn't translate into an easier life and they are getting a "raw deal" researchers concluded.

Shoppers in Britain pay higher prices for fuel, food, alcohol and cigarettes and receive poorer healthcare and education, the survey found.

"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," said Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at

"We have lost all sense of balance between wealth and well-being," she said.

British workers toil three years longer and die two years younger than their French counterparts.

The Spanish enjoy 2,665 hours of sunshine a year, compared with just 1,397 in Ireland and they pay five percent less taxes than their light-deprived Irish cousins.

The 10 major countries surveyed were ranked in the following order from best to worst quality of life: France, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Britain.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>The Palace of Westminster is seen in London October 12, 2009. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty</p>