Quality of life in the UK

An Expert's View about Education in the United Kingdom

Posted on: 30 Aug 2010

This fact sheet summarises the key quality-of-life factors for international executives relocating to, and living in, the UK.

QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE UK This information sheet summarises the key quality-of-life factors for international executives relocating to, and living in, the UK. The factors covered are: 1. Living in the UK 2. Residential property 3. Healthcare 4. Education 5. Sport, culture, leisure and entertainment 6. Further information The UK is a globally renowned destination for international businesses and, consequently, attracts significant numbers of international executives and their families every year. 1. LIVING IN THE UK Foreign executives relocating to the UK have a wide range of living options. With major cities (such as London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff) located throughout the country, executives have the choice of living in or around major population centres, or to live in smaller towns or villages within easy reach of larger cities. Indeed, travelling to work is relatively easy, with the average commuting time in the UK taking just 27 minutes (Source: Department for Transport, 2009). For detailed information on local location options available throughout the UK and additional location-specific data on key quality-of-life issues, please see: www.statistics.gov.uk/neighbourhood or www.upmystreet.co.uk 2. RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY There is a wide range of available property to buy or rent in cities, towns and villages across the UK. a) Buying residential property is a relatively straightforward process and there are no separate procedures for foreign nationals. House purchase prices vary substantially from location to location (see Figure 1). Figure 1: Average regional property prices in the UK UK region Average selling price* Greater London region, England £336,212 South East region, England £209,227 South West region, England £175,805 Eastern region, England £173,486 Northern Ireland £161,429 Scotland £155,618 West Midlands region, England £138,094 East Midlands region, England £129,271 Yorkshire and Humber region, England £124,939 Wales £124,430 North West region, England £117,851 North East region, England £109,701 Source: Land Registry (January 2010); University of Ulster (Quarter 4, 2009); Registers of Scotland (Quarter 4, 2009). *Prices can vary substantially at local level, depending on the type of property being purchased and the specific location. For further details on regional and local property prices, please see: www.landregistry.co.uk b) Renting is also a straightforward process in the UK and there are no separate procedures for foreign nationals. House rental prices are negotiated on a local and individual basis and vary substantially across the UK. For further information please see: www.propertyfinder.com, www.rightmove.co.uk, www.torent.co.uk or www.findaproperty.com 3. HEALTHCARE All locations throughout the UK provide a high level of healthcare, both state funded and privately funded: a) State funded: all residents of the UK are entitled to free medical treatment via the National Health Service (NHS). Foreign nationals living in the UK must register with the NHS via their local doctor. For further information on the NHS, please see: www.nhs.uk b) Privately funded: private healthcare is widely available throughout the UK. The global reputation of the UK?s private healthcare service is reflected in the fact that, in London alone, more than 20,000 overseas patients attend private hospitals and clinics each year (Source: Think London, 2010). For further information on private healthcare in the UK, please see: www.privatehealth.co.uk 4. EDUCATION For international executives who are relocating to the UK with their families, education is often an important factor: a) There is an excellent range of state-run schools across the UK that provide education opportunities for children of all ages. For further information, please see: www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/index.htm b) There is also a wide selection of private schools across the UK. For further information, please see: www.isc.co.uk/ c) In addition, there are several international schools in the UK that cater for specific nationalities, including American and Japanese schools (which provide their own respective teaching programmes). Many international schools offer programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. For further information on international schools, please see: www.ecis.org d) There are numerous colleges and universities throughout the UK that offer a wide range of courses. Of the 2.4 million full-time and part-time students in the UK, approximately 370,000 are international students (Source: HESA, 2010). For further information on university courses, please see: www.ucas.ac.uk For further information about the UK education system, please see the UK Trade & Investment information sheet entitled ?Education in the UK?. 5. SPORT, CULTURE, LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT There are many opportunities to engage in sporting, cultural, leisure and entertainment activities throughout the UK: a) The UK is renowned for its commitment to sport ? the country will hold the 2012 Olympic Games and already hosts a number of world-class sporting events including Premier League soccer, tennis at Wimbledon, the Open Golf Championship and Formula One motor racing. For sports participants, there are thousands of professional and amateur clubs throughout the UK that offer people the opportunity to play whatever sport they may choose. For further information please see: www.uksport.gov.uk/ b) The UK has an internationally renowned cultural sector with many world-class facilities across the country such as art galleries, theatres, music venues, museums and libraries. For details of the wide range of cultural attractions in the UK, please see: www.visitbritain.com c) The UK has many areas of countryside that are of outstanding natural beauty, including various National Parks. In addition, there are also numerous world-class tourist attractions and theme parks throughout the country. For details of places to visit in the UK, please see: www.visitbritain.com d) The UK?s extensive airline network also allows residents to take advantage of short-break holidays throughout Europe to other major visitor destinations such as Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and Prague. 6. FURTHER INFORMATION This information sheet was updated in March 2010. As information changes from time to time, please contact the organisations listed or UK Trade & Investment to confirm any item that you intend to rely on. This information sheet was produced by the Marketing Group of: UK Trade & Investment 9th Floor Kingsgate House 66-74 Victoria Street London, SW1E 6SW Tel: +44 (0)20 7215 4957 Email: enquiries@uktradeinvest.gov.uk Website: www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk
Posted: 30 August 2010