The United Kingdom has been known to hold supreme world power for the past two centuries. Although the two world wars have greatly affected its status, it still remains as one of the most influential, wealthiest and most powerful countries in the modern era. It is the first industrialized country in the world, which has declined over the centuries but the UK remains one of the major economic powers in the globe.
At present, its economy ranks 5th with a GDP of over 2.3 trillion euros and a per capita GDP of over 35,000 euros. The cost of living in the United Kingdom can differ depending the person’s lifestyle and location. Some provinces and countryside areas can offer cheap and very affordable living conditions while the busy major cities are more appropriate for those with higher salaries and privileges.
London is one of the three command centers for commerce and international business in the world. Living in this major city will definitely be pricey and cost of goods and services can be twice as much compared to smaller towns in the United Kingdom. This was captured in Britain Expat Forum last January 6,2009:
But London is the hub of the country…..with a lot of high-paid jobs based there. But at the same time, they don’t call it one of the most expensive cities to live in the world for no reason. Prepare to SPEND when u live there…..almost all house prices are really expensive!
Over the past few years, the country remained as the world’s largest financial center due to efforts by the London Stock Exchange and other institutions. There are also a number of islands around which offer quality living. Expatriates in the meantime are interested in investing in London regardless of living rates and condition. As a testament, London would be hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics. This has been posted on Britain Expat Forum last March 24, 2009:
London can be a good place to live, but very expensive. Personally I like to be close enough to travel to London for the day when I like
Food and Drinks Costs in the UK
The cost of food and drinks in the United Kingdom is generally high compared to other European nations. Most of the goods in major cities come from provincial harvests and are charged with value-added tax. Imported goods are also taxed which significantly increases their original value. The average Briton spends about 200 to 350 euros every month on food. Grocery items and those found in supermarkets are possibly the cheapest expatriates can find. Some delis and community markets may offer lower costs depending on quality. This has been overshadowed though by a looming price increases as current prices have been their highest in a decade.
Usual meat products in the United Kingdom are pork, beef, lamb and venison. Poultry like chicken, goose and duck is also available. Eggs, fruits and vegetables like sauerkraut, asparagus, apples, oranges, pears, herbs and spices can be found in most food shops at high rates. Fish and seafood are expensive as well especially imported ones from Asia and the United States.
Varieties of crab, shrimp, tuna and prawn can range between 40 to 80 euros on the average. British wine and beer are usually imported from Germany, Italy or France while there are also locally made ones. Prices differ little between the imported and local beverages but quality imported wines are the most expensive of all.
Clothing and Accessories Costs in the UK
Shopping in London for clothes and accessories can be quite expensive. There are several branded items and designer labels that have hefty price tags. Some local makers also make quality and excellent products with styles and technique handed down from generation to generation, which explains the high cost of wares. Home appliances, electronic gadgets and trinkets are usually imported from Japan and are priced higher after tax is due.
The cost of cars in the United Kingdom can also be significantly higher compared to getting them from their places of origin like Germany and Italy. Nevertheless, Britons manage to afford the high cost of living and commodities. Most items found in the United Kingdom are expected to be slightly more expensive than anywhere else in the world.
Housing Costs in the UK
The cost of housing in the United Kingdom has continued to increase over the past ten years, with the latest at 1.7% in the previous year. Apartments located downtown can be very expensive while suburban houses are also quickly upping in value. Rental rates for a one-bedroom apartment can be anywhere from 200 to 300 euros every month.
Bigger units with service swimming pools and other amenities can reach up to 2,000 euros every month. Suburban homes with yards are available for rent from 500 to 1,500 euros monthly. There are also a number of cheaper apartments with lesser quality in remote areas at 80 to 150 euros a month. All these are priced depending on quality and location. Cheap accommodations usually exclude utilities.
Owning property in the United Kingdom is strictly for citizens only. Expatriates can own land provided that they have changed their citizenship or have legal implications like marriage or diplomatic documentation. Taxes on house building will be indicated as well as property management and right to ownership and maintenance. More affordable homes and land for sale can be found in the outskirts of smaller towns and vast farmlands. Accessibility to these areas are however questionable and utilities may not be as reliable.
Services Costs in the UK
The United Kingdom is one of the most advanced countries in the globe so telephone and internet services along with other communication links like cellular phone service and the like are ensured to be of top quality. Rates for internet usage are around 15 euros every month while telephone rates depend on consumption.
Transportation in the United Kingdom is also very efficient and state-of-the-art. Train stations, bus stops and airports are usual terminals for the locals and expatriates which offer reasonable rates. One can travel quickly between destinations at any time of the day. Some expatriates also prefer buying private vehicles and these can be fairly expensive due to gas consumption.
Health care is another great service offered by the country. Insurance policies are well supported by respective institutions providing excellent services and modern approach and technology in treatment and rehabilitation. More than 10% of the country’s GDP is allocated to health care facilities due to the growing number of elderly population. To clarify this, all citizens make contributions as stated in Britain Expat Forum last March 5,2009:
Once you are settled in the UK you must pay taxes here (it is more complicated than that, but in principle if you reside here the government expects you to pay taxes here).
Part of those taxes are the National Insurance Contributions, which contribute to all kind of social support, I believe NHS would be part of that.
In any case, once you are settled and are paying taxes locally (that is working for six months) you have the right to use the NHS
Employment Costs in the UK
Business, trade, stock exchange, commerce and tourism still comprise the bulk of the country’s financial support. Several slots are still available for expatriates in these areas. At present, the United Kingdom’s employment rate is at 95%, which is one of the highest in the world, but this is only for the time being with the financial recession’s effects still to be fully measured.
One of the nation’s strengths is equal distribution of occupations between the rural and urban areas. At the moment, the country is looking for more helping hands for health care centers and hospitals due to the rising number of sick people and aging individuals.