British food prices ‘highest in Europe’

Food prices are higher in Britain than any other European country, a survey has found.

British shoppers can expect to spend £137.13 on a basket of food which would cost just £119.57 in France and £120.40 in Germany.

Researchers used harmonised consumer prices based on Eurostat statistics to calculate the cost of a basket of food.

Items included cereals, meat, fish and seafood, milk, cheese, eggs, fruit, vegetables, sugar and confectionary.

Results were then fed into a “quality of life” survey which concluded that the UK and Ireland were the worst places to live in Europe.

The survey – by the price comparison website – found that France and Spain are the best places to live.

In a further blow to British consumers, the trade off between tolerating a poor quality of life but enjoying the highest incomes in Europe has ended.

Net household income in the UK is now just £2314 above the European average, compared with £10,000 above average last year.

People in the UK also work longer hours, retire later, and receive less annual leave than most of their European counterparts.

They enjoy less sunshine along the way and can expect to die two years younger than their French counterparts.

France, which has topped the index for the second year running, enjoys the earliest retirement age, spends most on healthcare and has the longest life expectancy.

Its workers also benefit from 36 days holiday a year – compared with just 28 in the UK – and it comes only behind Spain and Italy for hours of sunshine.

“Last year compared with our European neighbours we were miserable but rich, this year we’re miserable and poor,” said director Ann Robinson.

“Whereas some countries work to live, UK consumers live to work.

“In fact we work harder, take less holiday and retire later than most of our European counterparts – but the high cost of living makes this a necessity rather than a choice.”

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