Debt management may help Britons living in ‘worst country in Europe’

Debt management measures may be needed to help Britons struggling to cope with the high cost of living in the 'worst country in Europe' for qu…

Debt management measures may be needed to help Britons struggling to cope with the high cost of living in the ‘worst country in Europe’ for quality of life.

This title has been bestowed on the UK by Opinium Research, based on a range of criteria including finances and lifestyle, although the study actually only includes ten European countries.

France was top of the list, with Spain in second place and Italy third.

Britain was second from bottom last year but has just been overtaken by Ireland, with the cost of living being one of the chief contributors to the apparent blight of Blighty.

Although average incomes in the UK come fourth on the list, the prices for food and diesel are higher here than anywhere else, while the cost of petrol, tobacco and alcohol are all above the average.

The misery is then compounded by other factors, such as fewer days holiday in Britain than any of the other countries, later retirement and the gloomy weather.

While this has prompted 12 per cent of Britons to say they are thinking of emigrating – with Spain and France the favourite destinations – it may also reflect the difficulty of dealing with the expense of living in the UK at a time when many are in debt and incomes are being squeezed.

The issue of debt was noted recently by head of consumer finance at lovemoney Ed Bowsher, who said that consumers in the UK went on a “massive borrowing binge” in the years before 2008.

By James Francis

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