Adults living in Bristol currently have the highest quality of living in the country according to a new report from MoneySuperMarket.
The Quality of Living Index assesses the quality of life in the UK’s 12 largest cities and how it has been impacted over the past year by the enduring effects of the recession.
MoneySuperMarket’s first Quality of Living Index assesses the 12 largest cities in the UK on a range of factors including: property market activity; rental costs; salary levels; disposable income growth; cost of living; unemployment rates and life satisfaction.
These factors, taken from existing sources such as house price trackers and ONS statistics, have been weighted depending on the importance of each to the quality of living and each city given an overall score.
Bristol scooped the top spot. The average employee salary there is £22,293 – above the UK average of £21,473, and the third highest out of the 12 largest UK cities. It also has the highest disposable income growth and one of the lowest unemployment rates (8%), helping it top the Quality of Living Index.
In second place is Edinburgh. It has the second highest average salary of £24,628 and the lowest unemployment rate out of all cities (6.7%). This compares with an unemployment rate of 7.8% across Scotland and 11.5% in Glasgow.
Edinburgh also came out more favourably than the UK average on other factors: weekly average cost of living is recorded as £372.10 compared to the UK average of £401.10. And Edinburgh scored 7.42 on the life satisfaction scale, above Cardiff, London and Bristol. Disposable household income growth was 2.99% which is 0.13 percentage points higher than the UK average of 2.86%.
Clare Francis, Editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said: “The UK is only just making its way out of the deepest recession it has seen since the 1930s and it’s clear that people living in different cities across the country have had to face different problems. It is interesting to see Bristol and Edinburgh topping the table of the best places to live in the UK from a quality of living perspective.”
As expected, those in London have the highest salaries, £30,471 on average, and house prices in the capital have outperformed the rest of the country over the past year. Properties in London have increased by an average of 10 per cent year-on-year, compared to the likes of Glasgow and Bradford, where they fell by 1%. However, London only came seventh overall in the Quality of Living Index due to a combination of factors including a lower-than average score for life satisfaction (7.3 versus the UK average of 7.4), and higher than average rents (£131 a week) and mortgage payments (on average £179 per week). London rents are the highest of the 12 largest cities and almost double the national average of £77 a week.
Two of the three largest metropolitan areas in Yorkshire and the Humber – Bradford and Sheffield – together with Birmingham and Glasgow are found to have the lowest quality of living in the UK. A combination of low salaries (Sheffield and Bradford are below the UK average), poor disposable household income growth (just 2.3% growth compared to UK average 2.9%) and higher-than-average unemployment rates explains their rankings, despite their lower costs of living. Birmingham has also been hit particularly hard in recent months, with unemployment now standing at 16.5% according to September’s ONS data.
Francis said: “The UK’s quality of living has suffered in recent years and, as a result, many households are struggling to make ends meet each month. In many ways this is understandable given salary increases haven’t kept up with rising living costs – and millions of people haven’t seen their pay rise at all for the last few years. For most people, moving home or changing jobs to improve your quality of living isn’t possible.
“However, there are some key actions households can take today to help free up some extra cash and put some money back into their pocket to make their quality of life just that little bit better.”
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