Britain is the worst place to live in Europe (despite our big pay packets) By Laura Clark Last updated at 12:50 AM on 12th October 2009 Britain is the worst place in Europe to live despite offering the biggest salaries, a study reveals today. High incomes in the UK are cancelled out by long working hours, poor annual leave, rising food and fuel bills and a lack of sunshine. Researchers weighed up official data for ten countries, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Poland. It found Britons enjoy the highest aftertax household income of ÃÂ£35,730-a-year, more than ÃÂ£10,000 above the European average. But most of it goes on keeping a 'roof over our heads, food on the table and our homes warm', according to the uswitch.com European Quality of Life Index. After comparing 17 quality of life measures, the study ranked Britain at the bottom-with Ireland second from last. The best quality of life can be found in France and Spain. Britons can expect to work three years longer - retiring at 62 years and 6 months - than the French, and die two years younger at 78.9. Workers here get the least annual leave in Europe, with 28 days a year, compared with 41 in Spain. We also have to contend with a higher cost of living, paying more for fuel, food and transport. British drivers pay the most for diesel --while only one other country has more expensive unleaded petrol. Essential weekly groceries that cost ÃÂ£134.48 in the UK would be ÃÂ£124 on average in Europe --and ÃÂ£118.76 in France. Annual household energy comes in at ÃÂ£1,239, with Britons paying the third-highest electricity rates. Ann Robinson of uSwitch.com, said: 'There is more to good living than money - and this report shows why so many Brits are giving up on the UK and heading to France and Spain. 'We earn substantially more than our European neighbours, but this level of income is needed just to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and our homes warm. 'The recession could prove to be a turning point, forcing us to re-evaluate our way of life, get back to basics and to the things that really count. 'Consumers are already beginning to do this - the Government and its policymakers would do well to follow suit.'