Page last updated at 23:55 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 00:55 UK

London only UK entry in world's 'top 50 cities'

Houses of Parliament
London received the same score as it did in last year's survey

London is the only UK city to have been ranked in a global top 50 for quality of living, but comes in at a lowly 39th spot, a new survey has suggested.

The study was based on factors including crime, political stability, hospitals, transport, food and drink, leisure, climate and personal freedom.

The Mercer Quality Of Living ranking assesses 221 cities to help governments and firms place staff on assignments.

Vienna was ranked at the top of the list for the second year running.

London was followed by Aberdeen at 53rd position, Birmingham at 55, Glasgow at 57 and Belfast at number 63.

Mercer carries out the study to help governments and companies compensate employees fairly when sending them on international assignments.

Baghdad at bottom

The least desirable city of the 221 in the study was the Iraqi capital Baghdad, placed at the bottom of the list due to its lack of safety and stability.

European cities dominated the spots in the index, with Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland in second and third place and the German cities of Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich in sixth and joint seventh place.

Dublin was ranked in 26th place.

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Geneva, Switzerland
4. Vancouver, Canada
4. Auckland, New Zealand
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
7. Munich, Germany
9. Bern, Switzerland
10. Sydney, Australia
Source: Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey

Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, said: "As the world economy becomes more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial centres are emerging as attractive places in which to expand or establish a business.

"Cities in many emerging markets, such as in the Middle East or Asia, have seen a significant influx of foreign companies and their expatriate employees in recent years.

"To ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in their benefits package, companies seek a clear picture of the quality of living in these cities.

"We have reviewed our index to reflect these developments and it now better represents the cities that most interest our clients."

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