Cost of living and quality of life

I see there are long discussions on all the local forums about the increasing cost of living here. Sad but true, that even in an ideal economic situation it would have been unrealistic of us to assume that Greece could stand out as a ‘Eurozone’ country and still keep the low prices we have always enjoyed. And in the current climate of course everyone is in an even worse situation.

I was in England recently, doing the normal shopping and paying the everyday bills exactly as we all do here, and even though I do think supermarkets in the UK can be considerably cheaper (Greek supermarkets do not seem to have grasped the value of ‘loss leaders’ on basic foodstuffs as the larger supermarket chains have in the UK) the general cost of just ‘existing’ in England can still strike me with horror. Council tax (113 pounds a month per household member in an unremarkable, standard London flat), electricity bills of 300+ pounds, water bills of 200 a time, plus gas bills of 200+. The flat is occupied by my two kids who were not energy-conscious (they are now they have seen the bills!) but who are hardly ever there! My bills here in Corfu fortunately bear no resemblance to those.

A statistic I saw yesterday says that burglaries in the UK are up 4% since last year and petty theft is expected to rise in conjunction with continuing or growing problems of unemployment etc. Add to that the grim weather, even though we have not had the best of winters this year here in Corfu, and you can totally understand why people want to move here from northern Europe.

We are not the cheapest, our winter weather isn’t always the best, there are a few ‘infrastructure’ problems, the roads leave a bit to be desired, etc. etc. but overall, I think we have to be grateful that living here, or having a second home here, beats living and working in the UK, and probably most of the rest of northern Europe (can’t be sure, haven’t lived permanently anywhere else, but I suspect I am right, unless there is another Paradise around the corner!). If we only valued where we live on the cost of living – where would we live?

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