Fewer Britons retiring to a 'place in the sun', IPPR says
Fewer people are choosing to retire to a 'place in the sun' because of the economic downturn, according to leading think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research.
By Christopher Hope
The Telegraph (U.K.), June 30, 2010
Last year 134,000 people chose to go to live overseas, compared with 200,000 in 2006/7.
The institute blamed this fall on concerns over the falling values of pensions combined with rising property values in places like the south of France.
Worries about the economies of southern Mediterranean countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal had also meant that emigrating was now less attractive than ever.
There was also anecdotal evidence of a return to the UK of older and relatively poorer people, perhaps attracted by free healthcare in the National Health Service.
Tim Finch, the institutes head of migration, said there was evidence that the 'place in the sun phenomenon' dating from the 1980s where 'pioneer-style migrants' decided to take redundancy money and set up overseas – may well prove to have been a 'pre-crash thing'.
He said: 'Big British emigration boom of the last decade may be over, and the days when everyone could dream of a place in sun are disappearing'.
Despite the fall, the report said there was a diaspora of 5.6million Britons now living aboard, who were sending billions of pounds back to the UK.
A large proportion of these Britons were pensioners, with 9.2 per cent of all British pensioners now living abroad, compared with 7.6 per cent in 2000.
The institute suggested that Britons living overseas should be harnessed by the Government with small grants to encourage entrepreneurship.
Embassies and consulates around the globe should be transformed into 'inclusive and accessible hubs for a much wider range of activities and a wider range of diaspora groups', it said.
The Government should also simplify the process of registering and voting in the UK and European elections, the institute said.