Scots expat business owners in Spain fear for the future

Published:  11 Sep at 6 PM
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Scots expat business owners on the Costa del Sol are fearing for their post-Brexit futures.

Even although the Spanish government has reassured expat businesses they can continue as normal post-Brexit, many are afraid the knock-on effects of losing the EU’s right to free movement will result in a dearth of British customers. Another concern is the effect of the falling pound on the number of visitors as well as on expat pensioners for whom a cheaper cost of living is a must. Visitor numbers in favourite Spanish coastal locations are already falling, and the UK’s searingly hot summer is being suggested as yet another major reason for staying home.

Scots bar owner Charlie Gowans has run his business in Spain for six years, with this summer being the most difficult due to a lack of the usual number of holidaymakers and the effective cut in pensions caused by the shrinking pound sterling. He’s afraid to look into the future as well as believing there’s no real point in doing so, as the British government hasn’t the faintest idea what’s going to happen early next year or afterwards. What he’s actually seeing is a fall in regular customers due to many relocating back to the UK, with estimates of 120,000 leaving and only 80,000 arriving.

He’s also fully aware the entire Costa del Sol region is totally dependent on tourism and expat revenues, without which the region's economy would virtually collapse. According to Charlie, the British have been supporting the popular coastal strip both as tourists and long-stay expats for several decades, with the entire region’s infrastructure and businesses geared up to mostly retired expats, tourists and small business owners, the vast majority of whom are British. It’s not just freedom of movement, he says, it’s also the threat to regular, convenient cheap flights, the cost of visitor visas and even possible hassles at immigration.
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