Numbers of Brits in Europe see significant decline

Published:  3 Feb at 6 PM
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The number of British expatriates living in Europe has fallen to an all time low.

According to a report from the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions, the total numbers of British expat pensioners living in European Union member states have fallen to the lowest level in the past five years. For the past several decades, Europe has been the number one destination for British retirees looking for a warm, affordable location offering a better quality of life than that in the UK.

Spain was the all-time favourite, with as many as 107,000 choosing its coastal cities as their new homes. Recent figures show a fall in the numbers of retired British residents of around 1,600, suggesting that losing access to the country’s excellent healthcare due to Brexit is the main reason for the sharp decline. Now that Brexit is irreversible, should the UK and Spain be unable to agree on a reciprocal agreement by the end of this year, free or inexpensive access to medical services for expats may well come to an end.

A number of recent surveys have ranked Spain as one of the world’s best retirement destinations, with contributing factors including the cost of living property prices and low crime statistics. Of course, the weather also plays a large part, although last year’s destructive mega-storms may have disrupted expats’ perceptions of life in the country. As regards the cost of everyday life, an average basket of groceries costs some 21 per cent less than the same items in the UK.

In general, the Brexit-induced drop in the value of sterling has increased pensioners’ costs across the entire European Union including Italy and Cyprus, and is also affecting the amount of cash received after currency exchange conversion by selling the UK home. It’s to be hoped this year’s Brexit negotiations go as smoothly as possible, thus protecting British expat retirees In Europe from any more financial or residential shocks.
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