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UK loses to Europe on spending power

British households work harder yet pay more tax and have less spending power than their European neighbours, according to a new study.

The research, by The MarketPlace at Bradford & Bingley, shows UK households pay more income and wealth taxes than people in France, Germany, Spain and Italy but have less disposable income than households in all these countries.

The total annual income per household in the UK stood at £35,917, of which 13 per cent went on income and wealth taxes. German households had income of £34,106 but paid 10 per cent in wealth taxes, with Spanish households on £27,366 paying only 7 per cent.

Despite paying more on tax, British workers are paid med-iocre hourly wages of £9.36, which is over £1 an hour less than German workers, who average £10.42 an hour.

British households work harder than those on the Continent, averaging 8.7 hours a day, which is over an hour more than Italians, who average 7.68 hours a day.

Britons also have fewer holidays, with France enjoying

47 public and annual holidays a year compared with the British average of 28 days.

The squeeze on UK families&#39 finances is made worse by the cost of living – the highest among those surveyed. OECD figures for 2000 show the cost of living compared with the UK was 7 per cent lower in France while Germany was 8 per cent lower, Italy 23 per cent lower and Spain 26 per cent lower.

The MarketPlace group commercial director Ian Darby says: “We found that rather than being rewarded for longer working hours and fewer days holiday, everyday items cost us far more than our European counterparts and we suffer a higher tax burden.”

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