As we look around our country and listen to the news it is easy to think that we in the UK are faring badly in the world.

But the latest figures from Eurostat [1] show that the standard of living in the UK was second only to Luxembourg in 2010 when compared across the European Union.

The difference in Actual Individual Consumption (AIC) across the then 27 states varied from 42% of the average in Bulgaria to 150% of the average in Luxemburg. The average or base point being the EU27 as a whole at 100%.

AIC is used as an indicator of standard of living (or level of welfare) as it shows what households are consuming whoever pays be it the household themselves, central government or local government.

AIC per Capita Dec 2011

AIC per Capita 2010-click to enlarge

(Please note that Estonia did not join the Eurozone until 2011.)

This puts the UK at 21% above the EU27 average.

When looking at purely GDP per head (what the consumer spends) then the UK drops to 10th in the tables showing what an impact public spending (such as health and education) has on the UK standard of living.

So things aren’t as bad in this country as we may think, well in 2010 anyway. But is it right that such a large amount of our standard of living should depend upon the state? Doesn’t that make us a very socialist country?


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