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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
Cardiff 'UK's most costly place'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
The Millennium Stadium is one of Cardiff's capital attractions
Cardiff and Edinburgh top the league for the cost of living in the UK, according to a survey.

They have overtaken London as the most expensive places to live, once income is taken into account, the YouGov poll for an insurance firm claims.

The study found people in the Welsh capital commit an average 97% of their monthly earnings to paying the bills.

For Edinburgh, the figure was 93%, while London was ninth at 73%, after cities including Leeds and Southampton.

The study for insurance firm Combined Insurance used the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the Office of National Statistics to compare people's income with the outgoings of 2,000 people questioned.

Cardiff topped the bill as the most expensive city, with those questioned saying they had to spend almost 1,059 per month on essential living costs. Almost 160 of a gross monthly salary of 1,088 went on servicing debts such as credit cards.

THE COST OF LIVING
1. Cardiff - 97% of earnings committed to outgoings
2. Edinburgh - 93%
3. Leeds - 88%
4. Southampton - 87%
5. Birmingham - 85%
6. Newcastle - 83%
7. Glasgow - 80%
8. Manchester - 75%
9. London - 73%

Monthly earnings in Edinburgh averaged 142 more, but essential costs, such as utility bills, debt servicing, mortgage and food and travel expenses accounted for 93% of it.

However, although Londoners pay out most each month - 1,338 - their average monthly income of 1,809 puts their relative cost of living behind Leeds, Southampton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester.

Commuters

Nigel Brittle, of Combined Insurance, said: "These findings call into question the long-held belief that London is the UK cost capital with an exorbitant cost of living.

Edinburgh Castle
Capital cities like Edinburgh can have their price for residents

"When monthly income is taken into account, and all monthly commitments are totted up - not just mortgages - it's clear there are residents in other parts of the UK that are living closer to the financial edge."

Brian Morgan, a regional economist at Cardiff Business School, queried the accuracy of the income figures for Cardiff but said people in both it and Edinburgh faced extra costs for living in capital cities.

He put the average income for the greater Cardiff area at around 19,000, claiming the city had a greater proportion of commuters from outside than London, with the neighbouring Vale of Glamorgan one of the highest income areas in Wales.

He said: "Cardiff and Edinburgh are both seats of government and both have huge public sector departments.

"Edinburgh has an even bigger financial services sector and with the oil offshore a much higher number of corporate headquarters. It has seen an even more rapid increase in house price inflation than Wales."




SEE ALSO
Valleys' house prices top table
08 Nov 05 |  South East Wales
Key workers face housing headache
28 Jul 06 |  Scotland
London 'sees housing market boom'
18 Jul 06 |  Business
London living costs take a hike
12 Aug 04 |  London



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