Brum Ahead of Rome and Milan for Its Quality of Life Howell; I Hope Surveys like These Will Help Influence Major Companies in Their Decisions about Relocation Coun Andy Howell

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Byline: Sarah Probert

Birmingham's reputation as a leading world city has been reinforced by a survey placing it ahead of Milan and Rome for quality of life.

The quality of living study published today examines factors including education, health and recreation in 215 cities around the world.

Birmingham was placed joint 59th, with Glasgow and the American city of Minneapolis.

It was rated the 21st best European city, with a score of 97.5 points, half a point and one place down on last year's survey, but still higher than Milan (64th) and Rome (68th) in the overall league.

The study, by London-based management consultants William M Mercer, aims to help multi-national companies assess and compare the standards of living for their expatriate workers.

The analysis was based on an evaluation of 39 quality-of-living criteria including political, economic, social and environmental factors, together with personal safety, health, education, entertainment and transport.

The highest ranking city in the UK and the Republic of Ireland was Dublin, at 35th. London was ranked at number 40 overall and scored 100.5 points, down from its position at 35 last year. Increases in robbery and theft were blamed for the UK capital's slump.

Vancouver in Canada came top of the quality-of-life list, followed by Zurich in Switzerland, Vienna in Austria, and Copenhagen in Denmark.

The world's lowest ranking city was Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, due to the disruption and shortages caused by the civil war.

Public transport in Birmingham was deemed efficient and reliable, although traffic congestion and limited services to from the airport to world destinations counted against it, as did poor weather and a lack of international schools. …