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13.10.09


France has the best quality of life out of Europe's biggest countries, while Britain has the worst despite having the highest incomes, a study said on Monday.

British workers can expect to spend three years longer at work and die two years younger than their French counterparts, while they pay above the European average for fuel, food, alcohol and cigarettes, the study by uSwitch.com said.

The consumer website used existing research from different sources to compare 17 lifestyle factors in France, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Britain.

It revealed that Britain had the highest net household income -- at 35,730 pounds a year it is 10,000 pounds above the European norm -- but much of this is spent on a higher cost of living.

Britain is the second most expensive country in Europe for unleaded petrol, while diesel is 20 per cent above the European average. Food also costs more and only Ireland and Sweden pay more for a round of drinks.

Poland has the longest working hours but its holiday allowance is also among the highest, while British workers put in an average 37 hours each week but have the lowest holiday entitlement.

Britain is also near the bottom of the rankings when it comes to health and education spending as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), has a below average life expectancy -- and enjoys far less sunshine.

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