Cost of Living in UK over fifty years

There is freedom of movement, freedom of style of living, freedom of association, with neighbours, with weather conditions, freedom of equitable care, and freedom of physical safety, among many others.

by Victor Cherubim

( January 8, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Have you ever wondered what the cost of living in UK was fifty years ago and what it is today? What could it be in another fifty years? Could we dare compare any future economic forecast to downplay of the hurricane referred as “Michael Fish Moment” of 15 October 1987?

For a family of two adults and two children, the average cost of living per annum in the UK today is around £36,800, while in the United States, it has hovered around US$ 65,000.

But is the cost of living or rather the quality of living more important?

Quality of life

“The quality of life is defined in terms of health, comfort and happiness, rather than wealth.”

In the Quality of Life Index by Country 2016, Denmark ranks highest followed by Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Norway has dropped down from its earlier prime position.

“The cost of living is the amount of money needed to sustain a certain level of living, including basic expense such as housing, food, healthcare and taxes”.

The cost of living in UK varies depending on lifestyle choices and location. London is more expensive while the countryside towns and provincial cities appear to be far more reasonable. More than 50% of our spending goes on 4 main categories – housing, food, transport and recreation. Remove London and the North of England from the average figures and people actually spend more on getting from A to B than renting and heating their home.


Cost of Living 1966 figures                    Item  Cost of Living 20      Percent increase  
£  3568 Average house price £ 305,000 171
950 Av. cost of new car 26,500 56
.09p Av. cost pint of beer 3.90 87
.04p Av. cost pint of milk .58p 29
.08p Av. cost 500gm Sugar 1.60 40


.07p Av. White Loaf Bread .94p 27
.37p Av. cost 300gm Cheese 2.50 14


.27p            Av. cost Pkt. 20 Cigarettes 9.00 67


Earning a crust, unable to save enough to own a home? 

An Englishman’s home is this castle, not anymore? In fifty years life has changed in England beyond comparison. Yet everyone’s dream in Sri Lanka is to live in England?

One can understand that, so what makes England, England?

The idea of ownership of living is changing. Like on the Continent, renting rather than owning homes has spread fast in England in the years of Britain being in the European Union.Wages have not kept pace with prices, that is the short answer.

 Improvements in standards 

The three things which have seen marked improvements in standards since mid twentieth century:

  • Access to relevant information has dramatically improved as a result of scientific research and method of transmission and dissemination of information, not forgetting faster access to high speed internet. Affordable experience, somewhat flawless data connectivity to the digital world via fibre optic networks, 4G Mobile broadband all have been installed.
  • Health and safety. The effect that smoking can have on health, the banning of smoking in public places and transport, the ban on drink driving and talking on mobiles whilst driving, the adverts in and around public transport and hospitals of the importance of hygiene – washing hands, covering mouths when coughing/sneezing in order to reduce spread of disease, plus health and safety legislation for safe and secure working practices, with Unions, more than employers, enforcing it vigorously – all have had a dramatic effect on living standards.
  • In the UK life expectancy at birth has increased by almost 10 years in the first fifty years of NHS (established in 1948). In 1948, 40% of people died before reaching pensionable age but by 1996 this was reduced to just 7% and in 2016 it is much lower.

What is choice? 

For everything, there is choice, but not everyone choose it?

There is freedom of movement, freedom of style of living, freedom of association, with neighbours, with weather conditions, freedom of equitable care, and freedom of physical safety, among many others.

This includes freedom of reproduction, of childbearing or maternity care, freedom of physical safety. Fat intake in food is closely monitored in food sold; on food labels showing the number of calories, in eat activity and obesity. Where else are people told these things and still have choice.

Freedom of choice is one of the greatest freedoms in the U.K. But this choice is strangely monitored, on close circuit TV, on Police wearing body-cameras, by overt and covert surveillance, by technological data gathering techniques and feedback. But, it is still possible by using all your senses to make your cost of living bearable.


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