UK 'officially bottom of pile'

The UK is the worst place to live in Europe, with people getting a "raw deal" on quality of life and high cost of living, a study has revealed.

Comparison website uSwitch said that things were getting so bad that one in 10 people in this country were considering emigrating.

France and Spain came out on top of its Quality of Life Index, with the UK bottom of a 10-country league table, covering working hours, VAT, holidays, spending on health and education - and hours of sunshine.

The UK also came bottom of another table based on the cost of energy, petrol, food, alcohol, cigarettes, and life expectancy.

Households in the UK struggled with a high cost of living, with food and diesel prices the highest in Europe, while unleaded petrol, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more than the European average, said the report.

People in the UK now have the lowest holiday entitlement in Europe as well as having one of the highest retirement ages, the study found.

A survey of over 2,000 adults found their biggest concern was "broken society", as well as the cost of living, crime and violence, while some 5% said they were happy with the UK, with over one in 10 "seriously considering" emigrating.

France topped the index for the third year in a row, despite the average household annual net income being £7,000 below that of the UK.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, 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."