Who really compiles these sorts of stats BBC News - Where are you on the global pay scale?
I know every time I visit the UK I nearly DIE at what people pay -- even a smallish car costs around 100 EUR or even more to fill its gas tank -- and if you've ever had the misfortune to buy a train ticket ON THE DAY (not in advance) in the UK -- you can almost fly to SYDNEY from Schipol Amsterdam for the same price as a First class rail ticket bought on the day between London and Manchester (about 300 KM).
France isn't that cheap either but at least it's down the list so it's not ranked as one of the cheapest countries -- and as for Norway -- even THINKING about a glass of decent beer (with some alcohol in it) will set you back almost the price of a BMW in Madagascar. !!
I just wonder what planet these guys who write this stuff come from.
I have to say that working in Brussels on a Contract at the moment on roughly the same pay as I was getting in Manchester UK -- I'm so much better off that it's almost another universe --and here Belgium also seems ranked as a very expensive country !!! -- might be taxed highly (I don't pay too much of that) but seems to me prices are reasonable, accomodation of any sort is FAR FAR cheaper than London, Paris (or Manchester) and food is OK too.
I can only mean that "Purchasing power" also includes what you pay the taxman.