Given that the UK is low wage high cost it really is a rip of country. I really couldn't imagine moving back there. Well I can, but the thought is so horrible it's best suppressed at the earliest opportunity. I feel for you, I really do. Things here cost around same as the UK but the wage level is significantly higher, plus we can always hop across the border to Germany and grab a bargain.
Ok back on topic. Is the HD800 worth $1400. Yes and no would be my answer, but it depends where you're coming from. I currently use AKG Q701s with a Fiio E17 and quite frankly that combo works really well for my ears. Now having finally heard the HD800, combined with the HDVD 800 a few times, I would definitely say that it is the better headphone in terms of detail retrieval and believable sound staging. Going back to my more modest rig, however, was not the step back that I would have imagined it would be.
Likewise the guy who owned the HD800 rig commented on my rig that yes it wasn't quite up there with his, but also said "bloody hell, this cost 1/8 of the cost of mine and it's 90% of the way there" (actually didn't say that exactly, he said it in German and what I've written is a translation)
The truth is that the HD800 plus HDVD 800 is worth the money for him as its about equal to a weeks pay for him. For me it would be be just shy of 2.5 weeks pay. Easily doable but given the current enjoyment I'm getting from my budget system it wouldn't be worth it.
So is the HD800 worth 1400 bucks. Well the answer is a definite yes, if you have the money to easily afford it plus the associated amp you would need to drive it. If you would have to scrimp and save for it then no it's probably not worth the money as there are alternatives out there that will bring you very close for significantly less expenditure.
As previously said it all depends where you're coming from as to whether the HD800 is worth it.