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London's cost of living 'high'

Published 17/06/2015

London came 12th in the standings
London came 12th in the standings

London is the 12th most expensive city for expatriates working abroad to live in according to a global survey, with Birmingham in 80th position, Aberdeen at number 82, Glasgow at 109 and Belfast placed at number 127.

The annual report by Mercer weighs up the cost of living in 207 cities across the world, comparing the cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment.

The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees.

London, where the cost of renting a home has continued to push up, remained steady in the rankings. London was also placed at number 12 in 2014, while Glasgow slipped down one place, having been at number 108 in 2014.

Birmingham and Aberdeen both rose up the rankings compared with 2014, when Birmingham had been at number 90 and Aberdeen was placed at 94.

Both Aberdeen and Birmingham were ranked as being more expensive cities for expats to live in than the German cities of Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

Belfast fell back seven places compared with 2014, which the report said was down to a decrease in rental accommodation costs.

For the third year in a row, the costliest city was found to be Luanda in Angola. The report said that despite being recognised as a relatively inexpensive city generally, the cost of imported goods and safe living conditions there carry a "steep price".

Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore and Geneva completed the "top five" most expensive cities list.

Looking at the varying costs of everyday items, the report found that, for example, a trip to the cinema in Birmingham costs around £7.70, whereas in Singapore the price is around £6.03. In London, a cinema trip costs around £14.65.

Meanwhile, someone grabbing a cup of coffee in Birmingham or London would pay around £2.50, whereas in Hong Kong they could expect to pay £5.10.

A pair of blue jeans in Luanda would cost around £161.68, while in London someone would pay around £75.

Speaking about the UK cities included in the study, Kate Fitzpatrick, a senior international mobility consultant at Mercer said: "While the pound has weakened 8% against the US dollar over the last 12 months, something that would usually push cities down in the ranking, a number of other currencies including the euro have dropped even more, pushing UK cities up.

"In addition, London remains high because of the continued increase in rental accommodation costs which has offset the drop in currency.

"Birmingham and Aberdeen have experienced a moderate increase in the price of goods and services, while Glasgow remained stable due to moderate price increases and despite a decrease in housing costs."

The report also said that Paris, placed at 46 in 2015, fell by 19 places on a year ago, while Vienna, at number 56, fell by 24 places compared with 2014 and Rome, at number 59, fell 28 places.

The German cities of Munich, at number 87, Frankfurt, at 98 and Berlin, placed at 106 in 2015, had also fallen significantly down the rankings, the report said.

Here are the 10 most expensive places in the world for expatriates to live in 2015 according to Mercer, with their 2014 placing in brackets:

:: (1) 1. Luanda, Angola

:: (3) 2. Hong Kong

:: (5) 3. Zurich, Switzerland

:: (4) 4. Singapore

:: (6) 5. Geneva, Switzerland

:: (10) 6. Shanghai, China

:: (11) 7. Beijing, China

:: (14) 8. Seoul, South Korea

:: (8) 9. Bern, Switzerland

:: (2) 10. N'Djamena, Chad

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