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Quality of life in British cities lags well behind global leaders Vienna, Zurich and Auckland – but London is in infrastructure top 10

London is in the world top 10 for infrastructure but it continues to lag behind 39 other global cities in terms of overall quality of living, a new study has showed.

The UK capital has the sixth best infrastructure in the world, sharing the position with Hong Kong, thanks to its international airports and good public transport – although heavy traffic makes it score low for air quality and pollution.

However, London comes in only at 40th place in terms of overall quality of life, losing one place compared to last year, according to the latest Mercer’s worldwide quality of living city survey.

Traffic congestion: London scores low for air quality and pollution

Vienna remains the best city for overall quality of living for the fourth year running, followed closely by Zurich, Auckland, and Munich.

In the UK, London leads the pack, followed by Scottish cities of Edinburgh, stable at 45th place, and Glasgow, which improved its ranking from last year to 53rd position – the same place as Birmingham.

Aberdeen also rose one position to 58, but Belfast worsened two positions to be ranked at 66th place, according to the survey.

The survey of 230 cities is aimed at large multi-national employers and other companies to help them determine how they should compensate employees when placing them on international assignments or longer term re-locations.

It looks at different parameters, including housing costs, crime levels, banking and public services.

Glasgow: The Scottish city rose two positions to 53rd for quality of living

This year, Mercer also produced a separate survey for infrastructure, looking at each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports.

While London scores high in sixth place for infrastructure, the rest of UK cities lag well behind, with Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow all tied in 44th place, while Aberdeen and Belfast make it only at 70th place.

Top: Singapore has the best infrastructure in the world, according to Mercer’s survey

‘All UK cities remain attractive locations for multi-national companies and their employees as they continue to rank highly for quality of living,’ said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for the UK & Ireland.

‘London leads the pack in both the overall quality of living and this year’s supplementary city infrastructure ranking, with its multiple international airports and a large and comprehensive public transport network.

‘The capital’s only downfall in regard to infrastructure is heavy traffic congestion, which also contributes to the city’s low score for air quality and pollution.’

She added that they will continue to monitor any impact of the upcoming Brexit negotiations on the quality of living in UK and European cities overall.

Munich: The German city is one of the top 10 cities in the world for quality of living and infrastructure

In terms of infrastructure, Singapore tops the list, followed by Frankfurt and Munich, in joint second place, and Copenhagen in 4th. Singapore was also the 25th best city for quality of life, having the highest ranking city in the Asia-Pacific region.

German and Swiss cities continue to dominate in terms of both quality of living and infrastructure, with Munich and Frankfurt both in the top 10.

African cities continue to populate the bottom of the lists, with Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, was again the worst in the world for quality of living.

Canadian cities also scored high, and were the highest ranking in North America. Vancouver made it to fifth place for quality of life and to ninth place for infrastructure and Sidney also in the top ten of both rankings.