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Business

Europe and the Cost of Living: Britain

As fears of a recession circle the globe, DW-WORLD.DE asked people from seven European countries about their impressions of the cost of living. The series continues in Britain.

Commuters wait for the arrival of a train at the end of a working day at King's Cross Underground Station

London has always been expensive

Alex is an Australian who moved to London two years ago. She works as a human resources associate. She shares an apartment with two others and describes her bedroom as "the size of shoebox." On the plus side she said it is in a "desirable area," Primrose Hill -- only 15 minutes on the metro to the West End. The location is "quiet with wide streets and trees and parks, lots of cafes and delis and restaurants and feels very European."

Monthly income: 2,500 pounds (3,365 euros, $4,972)

Rent: 500 pounds (672.80 euros, $994.40)

Monthly utilities: 85 pounds (114.40 euros, $168.95)

Bus / metro ticket: 4 pounds (5.40 euros, $7.95)

One liter milk: 60 pence (0.80 euros, $1.20)

Loaf of bread: One pound (1.35 euros, $1.98)

Domestic stamp: 50 pence (0.67 euros, $0.99)

Movie ticket: 12 pounds (16.15 euros, $23.85)

Have you noticed that things have become more expensive recently?

It has always been expensive. It is sad but these prices don't shock me as much as they did when I first arrived in the UK. I paid 20 pounds (26.90 euros, $39.75) for four organic lamb shanks once and felt ill at the thought. I had a skirt and trousers taken in at the dry cleaners and it cost 40 pounds (53.85 euros, $79.50). These figures become a part of every day life and it becomes the norm.

To what extent does inflation affect you?

I don't really look at inflation and how it affects me on a day to day basis. I get on with things and tend to accept it as it is as I have no control over it.

How easy is it for you to get by?

I struggle every month, the hardest being January, with five weeks until pay day and you have Christmas and New Years to get through.

Would an increase in your wages be necessary to make it easier for you to meet you basic needs?

The more I earn the more I spend. I think I cover basic needs, but some months I have to buy food on credit.

Nb. Currency conversion based on one UK pound sterling = 1.35 euros and $1.98.

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