Taxes Drive More Out Of UK

Taxes drive more out of UK

David Smith
From The Sunday Times
September 9, 2007

TWO people in every five are either planning to move abroad or have seriously considered doing so, according to a new poll.

The poll, carried out by YouGov for the Taxpayers Alliance, a pressure group, suggests that unhappiness over living in Britain has doubled in the space of a year. The equivalent poll carried out this time last year showed that 22% had seriously contemplated emigrating or were planning to do so. In the latest poll that figure is 40%.

With a record tax burden, rising prices and barely improved public services, people feel that they are working harder and harder just to stand still, said Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance. In these circumstances its unsurprising that so many people are looking for a better life abroad.

He added: Voters want better government and lower taxes and the party that adopts this modern agenda will reap the elec-toral rewards.

Last month official figures showed that more people left the UK in the year to mid-2006 than in any year since records began in their present form in 1991. The Office for National Statistics said 385,000 people left Britain permanently – 196,000 British citizens and 189,000 long-term migrants who had been living in Britain for more than a year.

A recent analysis showed that 5.5m people born in Britain now live permanently abroad. The most popular destinations are Australia, Spain, France and America, but there is a growing list of countries – 41 in all – with more than 10,000 permanent British-born residents.

Those who emigrate tend to be younger people without family ties and those retiring. The poll shows that 50% of 25 to 34-year-olds have either given serious thought to moving abroad permanently or are planning to do so.

Their main financial bugbears in Britain were high utility bills (65%), council tax (61%), rising prices in general (54%), the affordability of housing (51%), the rising tax burden generally (37%) and high levels of debt (36%).

Other surveys have pointed to nonfinancial concerns such as crime and antisocial behaviour, overcrowding, poor transport and high levels of immigration.

With worries about job security and unemployment coming low down on peoples list of financial worries, the Taxpayers Alliance says that the Conservatives, in presenting an alternative to Labour, should focus on high council tax bills and the overall tax burden.