People living in Scotland have the best quality of life in the UK, according to a new survey measuring the factors that shape Briton’s lives.
EU officials claim Scotland was more tolerant of minorities and had a better education system and environment, while people living in England had fewer personal freedoms.
Tolerance was defined by a wide range of indicators including tolerance towards minorities and homosexuals, attitudes towards people with disabilities and the extent of the gender gap.
Education was also better in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to indicators such as the proportion of people attaining degrees, enrolled in school or attending adult education.
Scotland also gained higher scores for opportunity, access to basic knowledge, and health and wellness, despite its poor life-expectancy levels. Environmental quality – including air pollution levels and the protection of natural habitats – and personal freedom and choice were also rated better in Scotland.
According to the Social Progress Index, England lagged behind both Scotland and Northern Ireland when it came to quality of life, ahead only of Wales.
The report, which was funded by a US charity, the Social Progress Imperative, and is the first of its kind.
Published more than three months after the Brexit referendum, the European Commission’s report is expected to give European leaders ‘a roadmap that can be used to navigate the pressures and opportunities facing Europe’.
Michael Green, of the Social Progress Imperative, said: “Perhaps the most surprising finding is that the Brexit narrative of a divided United Kingdom, split between the privileged London bubble and more deprived regions, is not evident in terms of quality of life.
“Wealth in Cornwall and west Wales may be much lower but their social progress is on a par with inner London.”