Is the cost of living high in the UK? This is a common question wondered by anyone who is considering relocating to Britain. If you are pursuing UK immigration for any reason, you will likely want to factor the cost of living in the UK in 2021 into your decision to relocate to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland. Additionally, an applicant’s ability to afford his or her cost of living in London (or elsewhere in the UK) will be a critical factor in determining whether or not they will be approved for a UK visa. The authorities who consider your application know the cost of living in the UK generally, and will investigate your financial situation in order to determine that you can support yourself while living in the country. Not all UK visa holders can apply for welfare in the country, so it’s critical that you understand how much things cost before you apply for a visa. Consider also that the amount of money you will be expected to have/earn going forward will vary depending on what visa category you are pursuing. For example, applicants for UK business visas will often be expected to both pay more for a business visa and have more money in the bank, than say, an applicant for a student visa.

Regardless of what category of visa you are applying for, it’s good to develop an idea of what is the average monthly cost of living in the UK. Read on for the answer to this and other critical questions relevant to anyone who is considering relocating to Britain, including “what are food costs in the UK” and “what is the average accommodation cost per month?” (generally and within London) as well as to discover basic information about UK taxes and student living costs in the UK.

Is the cost of living high in the UK?

  • Depending on where you are immigrating from, you may consider the cost of living in the UK high. If you are arriving from a European country, you will likely find living costs in the UK around average relative to the other major European nations like France, Germany, and Italy. However if you are arriving from certain countries in Europe (such as Romania) Asia (such as India), Africa (such as Nigeria), and the Middle East (such as Egypt), where the cost of goods and services can be low, you may be surprised at how expensive things are in Britain. 
  • However, like in most countries, the cost of living in the UK varies widely depending on where specifically you are living. London is definitely expensive, even relative to other major European cities, so if you are living there, be prepared to spend more than you would in most capitals. 
  • Ultimately, the UK ranks among the top 30 most expensive countries in the world (right behind the United States). 

Cost of living in the UK in 2021

  • The cost of living in the UK varies widely depending on a number of factors, such as which country you are living (England, Scotland, Wales, or Norther Ireland), whether you live in London or another major city, whether you are a student, and your lifestyle in general.
  •  Because of such variances, the answer to the question “what is the average monthly cost of living in the UK?” might not be helpful to someone who wants to live in London, for example, where average costs are much higher relative to elsewhere in the country. 
  • That being said, the average cost of living in the UK is around £900 a month, without rent. When the average accommodation cost per month is factored into the living costs, that number rises to just under £2000 (factoring an average cost of £870 in rent).
  •  Food costs in the UK vary widely within and across the country. On average, you could expect to spend around £275 per month on groceries. 

Cost of living in London

  • The majority of immigrants who come to the UK end up living, working, and studying in London. 
  • London is significantly more expensive than other places in the UK. Rent is significantly higher in the capital, with the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city around £1,700 per month. 
  • One advantage to living in London is that you do not necessarily need a car in order to get around. However, if you don’t have a car, you will likely use the public transportation system, which includes buses, metro, and trains. 
  • While metro prices vary depending on how far you are traveling, a single trip on the metro costs around £2.40. 

Student living costs in the UK

  • The cost of being a student in the UK varies generally depending on where you are enrolled. An idea of average UK student costs is reflected in the amount of money the UK government estimates you will need as a student per month: £1,023 if you are enrolled in classes outside of the capital; £1,334 if you are studying in London. As you can see, costs in the capital are significantly higher. 
  • In general, students who attend universities/colleges in London should expect to pay more than those enrolled in educational institutions in Scotland, Wales, and elsewhere throughout Great Britain. 
  • However, students generally throughout the UK have access to reduced transportation costs and other benefits when they show a valid student ID card. 

UK taxes

  • Depending on what kind of visa you are on, you may be subject to UK taxes. 
  • In general, all UK residents are subject to UK taxes on income, particularly that which is earned in the country. Therefore, if you are classified as a resident of the UK by virtue of your immigration status, you will likely be subject to income taxes on your salary, pension, and other benefits. 
  • In general, UK residents must pay an income tax on any money over £12,500 (the standard personal allowance). The tax rate ranges from 20-45%, depending on how much money you make. For example, income between £12,501 to £50,000 is taxed at a rate of 20%; income over £150,000 is taxed at 45%. 
  • Foreign students are typically exempt from UK taxes on income, particularly foreign income. However, depending on where you are from, you may have to pay taxes on income you earned while in the country. 

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