UK Living Costs.

UK Living Costs
UK Living Costs

What does it cost to live and work in the UK?

Living costs in the UK are generally straightforward to manage and predict. To help you understand what they are likely to be, we’ve included a short overview of each main outgoing.

National Insurance and Income Tax

You will need to pay both National Insurance and Income Tax. These will be automatically deducted from your pay each month. To find out what your likely payments will be and how to set them up, you can ask your Sanctuary International consultant who will provide you with advice based on your role.

Council Tax

Council tax is a tax levied on households by local authorities in the UK. It is based on the estimated value of the property you reside in and the number of people living there.

Your council tax costs will depend on the size and location of the property you intend to rent or buy. It’s impossible to give an exact amount since each Council in the UK is responsible for setting its own rates.

When you’ve found a property, it’s best to ask the local council for information about the tax band you'll be on and the associated cost each month.


Childcare costs can be expensive, but there is plenty of support available for working parents. If your child is aged 3-4 you could be entitled to send them to nursery for a specified number of hours each week.


Depending on where in the UK you want to work, rent can vary. If the rent is high in one area it might be less a short distance away. You could consider a slightly longer travel to work to pay less rent. For example, there are some great places outside cities that offer excellent accommodation and convenient travel links.

Find out more about renting a property in the UK.


In the UK, it is a legal requirement for employers to enrol employees into a workplace pension. Unless you opt out of the scheme, a percentage of your pay will automatically be put into a pension scheme. The employer may also add money to the scheme.

Find out more about pensions and how they work.

Property running costs

Energy and water bills all need to be considered. The cost will largely depend on how much you consume and the size of your property. Get an idea of how much your energy bills are likely to be and how to compare utility prices.

TV Licence

Whilst not a huge cost, you must pay for a TV licence if you watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device. A colour TV licence costs £159 per year, and a black and white licence costs £53.50. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly.

Running a car

If you're working in a city, the chances are you might not need a car. But if you do, you will need to consider three main costs. These are insurance, road tax, and MOT. All are a legal requirement. It is a criminal offence to not have these in place whilst driving a car.

Find out which countries' driving licenses are valid in the UK.

Public transport

Most places in the UK have great public transport links. You’ll want to fully explore your options. Most people in London travel on the Underground and into the city via National Rail. There are numerous bus routes too. For more local public transport, visit your local council website.

Mobile phone and internet

Staying connected to family and friends will be a top priority for you. Many mobile phone providers offer competitive international call deals. Likewise, the same applies to the internet. There are some great deals available. For many of our candidates, the cheapest and most personable way to stay connected is on Skype or Google Hangout.

Want to find out more? Read about moving to the UK.