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How much is 30K sterling?

I've been offered a position within UK software house (just north of Birmingham). They offer me 30K p/a. Is it ok for business Software Engineer position?

How much will it make in cash (after all taxes, i.e. how much I will take home each month)? I'm single if it matters.

What do you think, folks?

Rudy M.
Monday, January 26, 2004

Just a tip, Birmingham is *so* boring. And the accent, affectionately known as "brummie" is an aquired taste.

Matthew Lock
Monday, January 26, 2004

30K sterling translates to take-home pay of a little under £22k [a bit under £3k in national insurance, £5350 in income tax], or pretty much exactly $40k.

Tom Womack
Monday, January 26, 2004

You won't be retiring early on that kind of money,  but it's livable.

Monday, January 26, 2004

What would be ok for business software developer with 7 years work history in Britain?

I've heard you have terrible taxes there, like 40% after 29900...

Rudy M.
Monday, January 26, 2004

I heard that they used to tax for sunlight, so many houses have boarded up windows (no... really).
Monday, January 26, 2004

Well the Window tax was at the turn of the 19th century, some two hundred years ago and then about 10% of windows in large buildings were bricked up.  But even in England the ratio of 200+ year old buildings to new is pretty low.

Just north of Birmingham covers a lot of ground, but in any event the cost of living is a great deal less than in the South East of England or London (or the dire 'silicon gulch' to the west of London).

30K would be within the reasonable area for a software developer.  Tax is taken throughout the year, Pay As You Earn, and the rates apply after all allowances have been taken. 

The maximum personal allowance for a single person is 4,615 over 30,500 you'd pay 40% on earnings above that but you're below that at around 23k.

If you're a foreign national then there are rules about double taxation and moving your domicile.  If there's relocation involved then push the employer for a contribution towards it, as that would be tax free.

And if you aren't an EC citizen then there's all the usual work permit stuff to have done. is one site with information and services relating to relocation to the UK.

Simon Lucy
Monday, January 26, 2004

Quick tax calculator:

1st £4000 is not taxed
2nd £4000 is taxed at 10%
Everything above that is taxed at "basic rate", about 23%, up to a ceiling of £34k
Above £34k is taxed at 40%

"National insurance" (NI) is 11% of everything, except that 1st £4k.


Subtract £4k from Total = $26k - This is not taxed
Calculate NI at 11% on £26k = £2600
Calclate Basic rate tax 10% * £4k = £400
Calculate LOwer rate tax 23% * (£26k-£400) = £5888

Total tax liability  £2600 + £400 + £5888 = £8888

Subtract from Gross £30k - £8888 = £21112 p/a, £1759 p/month

I knocked this up from memory on a frosty Monday morning, so expect it to be a bit rough. There are plenty of tax calculators on line (make sure you search UK pages only at google.CO.UK). Or you can have my excel sheet which does it, currently at home though - mail me.

I just read Simon's post. His numbers for personal allowance and higher rate threshold may be more accurate than mine. I've been contracting for a few years and these numbers change slightly every year.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Whereabouts North of Birmingham is it. I grew up in that region and my parents still live there.

Birmingham does have an image problem but there's lots of ongoing work to improve the city centre. As for the accent, I've never heard it described as diplomatically as Matthew put it - Thanks :-)

I think 30K is about typical for the job and area though. Don't know much about US tax so can't comment if UK tax rates are worse or better.


Ian H.
Monday, January 26, 2004

£30k is a good wage in england; not fantastic but certainly good. Assuming you pay into a pension scheme, you'll see a bit over £1700 a month. I believe most parts of Birmingham have fairly low living costs.

Mr Jack
Monday, January 26, 2004

The company is in Telford.

Many thanks to all of you.

Rudy M.
Monday, January 26, 2004

Ahhh Telford.

I worked in Telford about 20 years ago when it was a kind of Wild West New Town.  Its settled into some kind of stability now and there are a number of technology employers.  Some of the areas have very high relative house prices and you should stay away from the very low price areas.

Other than that the cost of living is pretty reasonable and apart from the somewhat desolate new town of Telford you've got all of Shropshire on your doorstep, Wolverhampton (which is lively) about 12-14 miles away and Shrewsbury about 10 miles away.

Oh and its sitting on a motorway junction and if memory serves it will be freezing cold and foggy there today.

Simon Lucy
Monday, January 26, 2004

Telford is in a nice region, and well placed if you want to explore the rest of the country.

Day to day living costs shouldn’t be too bad, but if you're planning to buy property you might be in for a surprise. For the areas worth living in, you won't get much for your money.


Ian H.
Monday, January 26, 2004

Telford is a bit of a cultural backwater, or was about 5 years ago. I was there for a few weeks doing a system for a manufacturer. In the evening the town centre (such as it was) was completely dead. The people I did see were mainly racing their cars round the numerous roundabouts and bypass roads.

I ended decamping to Shrewsbury about 20 miles away, where there were decent pubs and restaurants and a sense of people actually living there rather than just existing.

The main employer is I believe the Inland Revenue. There were a few apparently racist murders a few years ago. Good access to the countryside though, and trains to Brum.

Monday, January 26, 2004


As an escaped brummie, I would second the comments about the accent.  It is a curse.

However, Telford is quite a distance from Birmingham.

It is a new town, not unlike Milton Keynes.

The area around telford was one of great importance to the industrial revolution, and modern engineering.  If you do visit Telford make sure you see the Ironbridge gourge.

Ged Byrne
Monday, January 26, 2004


I have no idea why I addressed the above to Simon.  It was intended for you.

Ged Byrne
Monday, January 26, 2004

If you're moving from the US. Don't forget that uncle Sam still wants his cut of your taxes (Thats my understanding). If you pay more in the UK than you would in the US then nothing needs to be done (you still have to fill in a tax form), otherwise you need to pay the difference.
30K sounds about right for telford. National Insurance (NI) at 11% is a funny tax that stops at around the £595 per week (30,940), plus 1% at rates above £595 per week (This is in effect a hidden 1% tax rise for most people, so they could keep their election promise not to raise income tax)

So tax rates run as follows (I think I've gotten the numbers right):
0-4615 taxed at 0%
4615-6575 taxed at 21% (10% income tax, 11% NI)
6575-30940 taxed at 33% (22% income tax, 11% NI)
30940-35115 taxed at 23% (22% income tax, 1% NI)
35115 plus taxed at 41% (40% income tax, 1%NI)

NI is not charged on unearned income. so if you rent out a flat or house the NI isn't charged. Pension payments and various other things get the tax back (In practice your pension company claims the 22% and if you pay 40% you claim the rest)
So by my calculations that £30K works out at £1821 or $3,338 per month after tax.

Peter Ibbotson
Monday, January 26, 2004

Wolverhampton may be "lively" but you really don't want to live there. Brummies know Brum isn't shit because Wolverhampton is just down the road.

Monday, January 26, 2004

30K is about going rate at the moment for experienced software people. The market in the midlands is never storming the way is along the M4 corridor, but on the other hand the companies are a bit more stable up here.

And it's not worth doing the sums to turn it into dollars -- remember things cost differently here. Petrol is 75-80p a litre, which is a lot, but then our cities are only 30 miles apart. Beer is 2 quid a pint, but you won't drink as much of it. A decent new car will set you back 10-15k but a decent used car only a couple of years old is a few K.

One can live quite comfortably on 30K; the only grief being buying houses. A decent house in the midlands is well clear of 100K these days but borrowing tends to get hard after 3.5 times one's salary. We have the humourous situation that the average wage earner can't buy the average house....

{I live in Coventry and after two years of house inflation vs salary deflation
[1]I could no longer raise a mortgage to buy my house. I've absolutely no trouble at all servicing the mortgage...}
I would wonder why anyone would relocate from the states for a job which sounds... well... ordinary, dogsbody development...

[1] One company went bust, then the next one relocated.

Katie Lucas
Monday, January 26, 2004

I'm from Germany, not States :-).

I don't now would I go to States or not, it very attractive, but way too far.

Rudy M.
Monday, January 26, 2004

Check out the salary in euros. Remember UK holiday entitlements are much lower than German ones (though still better than the US).

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 26, 2004

> I'm from Germany, not States :-).

In that case I don’t think the tax will be that much different from what you are used to?, and there should be no problems with visas etc.

Telford isn't too far from both Liverpool and East Midlands for cheap Easyjet/Ryanair flights either.

"East Midland Airport" has been rebranded to "Nottingham East Midlands" because visitors didn't know where it was. There have been arguments over which local city the airport should be named after. Nottingham won because of the local connections with the famous thief, Robin Hood….but as any fan of Shrek will tell you, Robin Hood was French....

Ian H.
Monday, January 26, 2004

"Check out the salary in euros. Remember UK holiday entitlements are much lower than German ones (though still better than the US)."

They're generally only one week less for dev type staff (5 weeks vs. 6). On the other side you get public holidays this year (the original poster will understand what I mean by this, I think) because they are generally moved to be on either the Monday or Friday.

(For those not "in the know", in Germany public holidays which happen to fall on a weekend are just "lost" unless of course you normally work that day.)

Monday, January 26, 2004

I'm considering going to learn for an MSc in National University of Ireland, Maynooth. I wondered how much funding should I need for me and my partner, I think the stipend is around 18K Euro after taxes.

That would be for living in Maynooth or Dublin, savings are not expected for the study time, a car might be needed.

A pointer to cost-of-living data would be very useful. Information about the name of the university in general would also be useful.

Someone to be
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

cost-of-living* pData = getCostOfLivingData();

Does that help?

Probably not, but I couldn't resist.

From what I have heard Dublin is expensive.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

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