Britain has the highest cost of living in the Western world, it is claimed today.
A Middle Britain family’s annual bills for a home, food and other essentials – estimated by a firm of international economists – total £38,880.
This figure has leapt by more than £2,000 a year compared with calculations made four months ago by the same experts.
The increase is a reflection of the rising cost of energy, food and housing – particularly rents and fixed-rate mortgages.
Yesterday, the cost of crude oil hit a new high of 141 dollars a barrel, threatening further increases in prices on the high street.
The Daily Mail Cost of Living Index has noted a 19.8 per cent increase in the price of essential food items in the past year – adding around £1,000 to annual grocery bills.
Household energy bills have jumped by around £130 a year to just over £1,000, while there are warnings that a further £400 rise is in the pipeline.
Research by the Economic Research Institute is used by multi-national companies to offer advice on relocating executives.
The ERI has figures for all the major cities of the world and can rank them in terms of cost of living under key spending areas.
The figures supplied to the Daily Mail identify the top ten most expensive cities in the Western world where the stipulated conditions – a family of three with a home measuring 1,240 square feet and one car driving 20,000 miles a year – would reasonably apply.
It does not include tax havens or ‘wealthy playgrounds’ such as Monte Carlo.
The cost of living in London is a useful bellwether for comparing Britain with other countries, according to the ERI which operates in the U.S. and Britain.
The calculations are based on a family of three with a gross income of £51,039.
That equates to the annual salary of a middle management executive, or a couple each earning around the average wage.
It estimates that this family will be spending £8,210 a year on socalled consumables, which includes food, other groceries and clothes – £157 a week.
Transportation costs – fares and petrol – come in at £2,483 a year, or just under £50 a week.
Health services, which includes dental work and private medical care, are put at £1,342 a year.
The biggest bill concerns housing. The ERI figures are based on rents, rather than mortgages, and include gas, electricity, water, telephone and insurance.
It puts the annual expenditure at £26,012, which equates to £2,167 a month or £542 a week.
In some categories, such as consumables and transport, Dublin and Paris appear to be more expensive.
However, the high cost of housing, heat and light push up the final bill for living in the UK.
Jim Brennan of the ERI said: ‘The cost of living across all the major cities has risen markedly compared to figures compiled earlier this year.
‘The increase of more than £2,000 for London is particularly large.’
Source: Daily Mail
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