Britain is Europe’s most expensive country for public transport and third priciest for the supermarket shop – but only has 11th highest monthly wage

Britain is the most expensive country in Europe for public transport and third priciest for the supermarket shop – but outside the top 10 for wages, a study shows. 

Stagnant wage growth and low inflation – results of the 2008 financial crash – are contributing factors to the UK featuring so far down on the list, according to the data from Revolut.  

It found the top average monthly salary after tax for a European country was Switzerland at £2,940 a month, with Denmark coming in close second with £2,910.

The firm, which offers a mobile current account and has 2million users, analysed its customers data to find average salaries.

It also crunched how much they spend on rent, transport and groceries, in order to find the most and least expensive places in Europe to live in. 

Scandinavian countries also feature heavily in the top five for wages, but this is balanced out with the higher cost of living.

Quality of life is also considered to be exceptionally high in these countries.

However, Britain languishes in 11th in the list, with the average salary after tax sitting at £1,976. This is nearly £1,000 less than out Swiss counterparts. 

Britain isbehind Austria, Germany and France thanks to one of the worst performing wage growth rates in recent years.

Top average monthly salaries (after tax) of European countries

Switzerland – £2,940 

Denmark – £2,910 

Luxembourg – £2,812 

Sweden – £2,287 

Finland – £2,233 

11. UK – £1,976 

Lowest average monthly salary of European countries

Latvia – £657 

Lithuania – £617 

Hungary – £565 

Romania – £503

Bulgaria – £407 


Furthermore, Britain has among the highest living costs in Europe despite not earning as much as those on the Continent. 

The Revolut research shows Britain is the most expensive country for public transport and third for the supermarket shop.  

High costs of the tube, bus and overground rail services all contribute to the large monthly expenses for its customers.

The next top three cities, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, are each only separated by £1.

Most expensive countries for public transport in Europe (monthly cost)  

UK – £135 

Denmark – £134 

Sweden – £133 

Norway – £132 

Luxembourg – £104

Most expensive countries for groceries in Europe (monthly cost)

Luxembourg – £247 

Switzerland – £225 

UK – £206

Italy – £202 

Belgium – £202

Least expensive countries for public transport in Europe (monthly cost)

Lithuania – £43 

Latvia – £42 

Poland – £28 

Romania – £25 

Bulgaria – £24

Least expensive countries for groceries in Europe (monthly cost)

Serbia – £95 

Montenegro – £93 

Czech Republic – £93 

Ukraine – £81 

Poland – £80


Nik Storonsky, chief executive and founder of Revolut, said: ‘The squeeze on living standards has left a huge number of UK consumers in financial difficulty. 

‘After a long decade of pay squeezes, financial stagnation and fleeting recoveries, the UK has a lot of ground to make up compared to our European neighbours.’ 

He added: ‘However, it not all doom and gloom. 

‘While many consumers throughout Europe are seeing quicker wage growth and a more affordable cost of living, it simply looks like it will take a little longer for UK consumers to find their feet after being drained by slower wage gains and faster inflation.’

On the other end of the spectrum, Eastern European countries made up the lowest salaries with the average Bulgarian only earning £407 a month.

Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Hungary made up the rest of the list.   

Bulgaria comes last in another list, this time as the European country with the cheapest transport costs, proving amassive £111 difference between Britain and Bulgaria.  

Other Eastern European countries make up the rest of the list.  

Another expense taken into consideration was grocery prices.

Despite an increase in discount supermarkets pushing large chains to keep their costs down, Britain is still third when it comes to grocery shopping costs, spending £206 a month. 

Luxembourg has the most expensive shopping basket at £247 a month with Switzerland placing second at £225 a month. 

Poland is the least expensive country for groceries in Europe with many Polish consumers tending to shop at their smaller local shops as supposed to big supermarkets.

Again, a number of Eastern European countries make up the bottom five.

Highest and lowest rents of cities in Europe (per month)

London leads the way as the most expensive city to rent in Europe. The Revolut research on rents looked at cities, rather than Britain as a whole in this part of the research.

Rents in the capital are far higher than those elsewhere in the country.

Nonetheless, the data shows the typical monthly rent outlay in London is £2,159 while the lowest, Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital is £394, a massive difference of £1,765.

A number of Eastern European countries made up the cheapest cities to rent, including Bucharest, Romania’s capital and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.  

Most expensive cities to rent in Europe:

London – £2,159 

Paris – £1,928 

Luxembourg City – £1,876 

Geneva – £1,770 

Zurich – £1,754 

Cheapest cities to rent in Europe:

Vilnius – £551

Budapest – £524

Bratislava – £454 

Bucharest – £401 

Sofia – £394


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