Bristol named top place to live in the UK

Nia Williams

October 23, 2013

The 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% 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.

Francis, added: “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.”

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