An artificial "currency" shows those in UK regions including the West Midlands have less spending power than parts of Greece, Slovakia or Slovenia

Athens enjoys a greater purchasing power than the West Midlands (Source: Getty)

Those living in the capital have more disposable income than anyone in almost any region of Europe - although if you live in the West Midlands, you may actually be worse off than people living in parts of debt-stricken Greece, analysis by City A.M. has found.

A bit like an egghead version of the Economists' Big Mac Index, the official European statistics authority's Purchasing Power Standard (PPCS) is an "artificial currency" which compares how much people are able to afford in 25 European countries - and while those living in Germany and the UK have the highest disposable income, the spread suggests those living in some parts of the UK might be better off elsewhere... The bubbles are scaled by the population density of a region, so urban areas appear bigger.

At one end of the spectrum

Inner London is slightly behind Oberbayern in Germany and the city of Luxembourg when it comes to disposable income - people living in the capital have purchasing power of 23,500 PPCS, although it does have the highest population density in Europe. In terms of unemployment, there are places that do better, but with an unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent, it’s performing well.

Meanwhile, Luxembourgers have disposable income of 23,800 PPCS, while those in Obayern have 23,700 PPCS. They both also have a lower rate of unemployment at 5.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

Read more: UK GDP: London leads the way when it comes to economic growth

At the other end of the spectrum

At the other end of the spectrum of UK regions lies the West Midlands, where disposable income is a mere 12,900 PPCS and the unemployment rate is 7.4 per cent. While it sits at the bottom of the UK's list primarily because it has a higher cost of living than elsewhere, there are places in Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia where the amount you can buy for the money you have is higher.

South Yorkshire and Tees Valley are also both at the bottom end of the scale, with PPCS of 13,400 and 13,700 respectively.

Take Athens in Greece, where locals have 15,200 to spend (although they're also grappling with a 27.3 per cent unemployment rate) or Bratislava in Slovakia where they have 16,000 PPCS, with an unemployment rate of six per cent – lower than in the West Midlands. In fact, there are 18 regions in the UK with a lower PPCS than Athens, and 22 regions with a lower PPCS than Bratislava.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Prague have 13,500 PPCS and an unemployment rate of only 2.5 per cent.

And despite London being so high up, there are 22 regions in the UK with less disposable income than the lowest-ranked region of Germany. Likewise there are 18 regions of the UK that are worse off in terms of disposable income than France's lowest-ranked area, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

The equivalent number in Spain is 14; 18 in Italy; 12 in the Netherlands and; 11 in Denmark.

On the unemployment front, one region in Romania, Nord-Vest, that has lower unemployment than 34 regions of the UK. The UK, however, does have higher employment in all its regions than any region in Greece.

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