With high inflation eroding spending power in Britain, Eurostat said actual individual consumption (AIC) per head dropped from 120% of the EU average in 2010 to 118% in 2011.
Eurostat, which looks at living standards for countries inside and outside the EU said that the top five countries for living standards in 2011 were Luxembourg (140% of the EU average), Norway (135%), Switzerland (130%), Germany (120%) and Austria (119%).
Inside the EU living standards were lowest in Bulgaria (45% of the EU average) and Romania (47%), although Europe's debt crisis has taken a heavy toll of AIC per head in Greece, where it has fallen from 104% of the EU average in 2009 to 91% in 2011.
Eurostat reported that there were smaller declines in living standards in the other countries at the centre of the sovereign debt storm – Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
AIC per head is often used as an alternative to gross domestic product as a way of measuring living standards, since it includes all the services that households consume, such as benefits in kind including health and education.
Using GDP per head as a yardstick, the UK was 10th in the EU table of living standards in 2011, a rating unchanged on the previous year. Luxembourg was comfortably the best off EU country on this measure, with GDP per head of 271% of the average, compared with 109% in Britain.
Eurostat's comparision of living costs showed that the UK was the 14th most expensive country in the EU in 2011, up from 15th most expensive in 2010. Prices were 3% above the EU average.
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