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Britain drops two places in Euro standard of living table as nation falls behind Germany and Austria
New figures show the UK slipping down the European league tableBritain now ranked sixth, down from fourth in 2010Families have only 19 days worth of savings if breadwinner loses job
01:24 GMT, 14 December 2012
Britain has slipped down the European league table on living standards as families continue to feel the pinch of the economic downturn.
An in-depth analysis by the EU measured material consumption in 37 European countries, including both private purchases and state spending, to give an accurate measurement of how well off people really are.
In the latest figures, which cover 2011, Germany and Austria jumped ahead of Britain, which comes in at sixth – a year earlier it was fourth.
Figures from Eurostat show how Britain has fallen from fourth in 2010 to sixth in 2011 in the European league table for standard of living
Rising energy bills have eaten in families' spending power, while spending cuts have eaten away at public services
Living standards here were reckoned to be 18 per cent above the European average.
tiny banking and administrative state of Luxembourg was deemed to have
the highest standard of living on the continent, at a level 40 per cent
higher than the European average, with the non-EU states of Norway and
Switzerland ranking second and third.
at Eurostat, the EU statistics arm which is based in Luxembourg,
bracketed Britain with France in the household wealth sub-category of
its Actual Individual Consumption study.
Overall French living standards were rated tenth – 13 per cent higher than the European average.
The Eurostat analysis also concluded that Switzerland is now the most expensive country in Europe, at 65 per cent above the average, replacing Norway, while Macedonia is the least expensive, costing 58 per cent below the average.
The UK was the 14th most expensive country in which to live in Europe, up from 15th the previous year.
The results are more bad news for the Coalition at a time of deepening fears that the country is heading into a triple-dip recession.
Last week, official analysis also found that the amount a typical household is able to pay to cover all its necessities and luxuries has dropped by nearly 10 per cent since the onset of the downturn.
An average home in Britain had almost 50 a week less to spend last year than it did in 2006, once inflation had been taken into account.
The Eurostat report found the lowest living standards were in Romania and Bulgaria, at 47 per cent and 45 per cent of average European levels.