Official wealth statistics paint a miserable picture of falling incomes and living standards in Britain while those in many popular expat destinations are doing much better.
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The report from the UK Office of National Statistics reveals that Britain dropped from fifth place in 2005 in a league table of household income to twelfth place just seven years later.
This is when the recession and global financial crisis hit and Sterling was devalued.
Inflation too has remained high in the UK compared with France, Germany and the US since 2009 though employment has remained fairly resilient.
Many expats leave the UK believing they can get a better standard of living overseas, but the report reveals that the UK compares favourably with many other popular expat destinations.
US tops wealth league
In a league of OECD countries for household disposable incomes the US, not surprisingly, takes first place and Luxembourg is second.
They are followed by Norway, Australia, France and Canada who are all ahead of the UK, though on fairly similar figures.
Italy was ranked 16th and Portugal 21st.
The lowest placings go to Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Mexico and Chile.
The ONS report is quite frank about household income statistics and points out that the UK was badly hit by recession and this led to a fall in the standard of living.
There’s no doubt that this slide in wealth and opportunity prompted many expats to leave the country for better opportunities and better living standards overseas.
No savings grace
The ONS explains that their report shows the comparative purchasing power of incomes but with rocketing prices for goods and services in the UK, household incomes do not stretch as far as they do in other countries above them in the rankings.
To underline this, the figures show that the British approach to saving is different from that of European neighbour, with the people in France saving an average 11.8% of their income and 10.9% in Germany. The figure for the UK is -1.1%.
The figure is so low because UK households are not only living beyond their means, but also spending from savings or borrowing to fund their spending.
Coupled with the recession, UK households grew poorer from 2007 and from late 2008 began to grow again.
The ONS report also points out that all popular expat destinations such as the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada enjoy better employment rates than the UK, with France and Ireland having worse rates. The worse place to find a job, by far, is in Spain.
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