London leads the world in costly hotels

British athletics may be going through a dodgy patch, but there are two areas in which we still have clear world records: London has the most expensive hotels on the planet, while the UK has the highest-priced rail travel.

These chastening facts come from the tenth edition of the Prices and Earnings Around the Globe survey from UBS. The Swiss bank started producing the survey in the 1970s, and it appears every three years.

According to its compiler, Daniel Kalt, head of UBS Economic Research in Zurich, many companies use the report to fix employee pay levels around the world.

Thankfully the UK doesn't break the bank in every department. London is the world's ninth-most expensive city in a top ten dominated by Scandinavian cities, although Tokyo leads the pack.

The survey finds that an overnight stay for two in the British capital will cost an average pounds 248, well ahead of the global figure of $168 (pounds 104). Eating out on the other hand is good value compared with most Asian cities and Moscow.

For hard-pressed rail travellers in the UK, privatisation does not seem to have translated into more competitive prices quite yet, to put it mildly. The UK is the most expensive in the world with fare prices of pounds 32 for a 120-mile second-class train ticket, some way ahead of the next most expensive - Switzerland. The global average is just pounds 10.50.

The survey will further fuel dinner-party gossip in London about house prices; London has the highest rents for unfurnished two-bedroom flats, along with Moscow and Jakarta. For three-bedroom flats London is on a par with cities in Asia, New York and Moscow.

On the other hand, poor old Londoners earn less than their counterparts in 20 other cities around the globe, including Paris and Frankfurt. London wages are the same as those in Sydney and only just ahead of Dublin - this, despite the fact that Londoners put in some of the longest hours in western Europe. They make up for it a bit with their holidays, an average of 20.8 days, which is in the middle of global comparisons.

Globally the top earners are to be found in Zurich (home of UBS), Geneva, Copenhagen, Tokyo and New York. The lowest gross wages were paid in places like Shanghai, Moscow, Budapest, Mexico City and Caracas.

If you decide to leave the restaurants behind and buy your own food, a basket of grub as defined by UBS would cost pounds 226 in London, just below the European average of pounds 244, cheaper than Zurich at pounds 342 but ahead of Lisbon at pounds 168. (At pounds 226 this is obviously a Swiss bank's idea of a "food basket".)

As for getting around, Londoners have the fifth-most expensive tube and bus fares - 13 times dearer than Shanghai - but Londoners get a slightly better deal when it comes to taxis with black cabs only the 10th-most expensive in the world.

UBS likes to jazz up its figures by working out how long it takes to earn enough money to buy a Big Mac anywhere in the world, to give an idea of comparative purchasing power. Fast-food fanatics in the US come off the best, taking just 12 minutes to earn enough for a burger, while their colleagues in London have to slog away for 20 minutes. That compares with three hours for a worker in Nairobi.

It looks as if Brits travelling to the Continent to buy their cars more cheaply are right to do so. Car prices are lowest in central and eastern Europe and in North America. Prices in the UK are the sixth-most dear. Russian motorists get the best deal on road tax at pounds 9.30, while Singaporeans pay pounds 617.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administration Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...

Ashdown Group: Solvency II Project Manager - 10 month contract - £800 p/d

£800 per day: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, global financial services co...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works