Britons in France resort to anger over their plight

Published:  13 Sep at 6 PM
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One of the worst aspects of the predicament in which UK expats in France now find themselves is conflicting information.

For over two years, British expatriates who’ve chosen France as their home have been subject to misinformation, disinformation and occasionally outright lies by the British government and its ham-handed negotiating team. It’s been a roller coaster of hope followed by disillusionment, buoyed up again by hope before yet another let-down. Many have lived overseas for more than 15 years, disallowing them from participating in the most important vote of their entire lives.

As citizens of the EU as well as Britons, they trusted the British government’s promises that nothing would change, and simply couldn’t believe their EU rights could be snatched away by the stroke of a pen after a so-called ‘advisory referendum’. Had they been told in advance there was nothing ‘advisory’ about the referendum and that their chosen lifestyles were at stake, those who didn’t make their views known would have voted, thus almost certainly achieving a completely different result. Now that the truth of their predicament is staring them in the face, anger is the only response.

One retired couple living in central France’s La Creuse region told local reporters they’re appalled, angry, and now just sitting at home waiting to hear their fate. They believe UK expats in Europe are now considered traitors for leaving the UK, meaning their views and fears are being ignored by British lawmakers. They’re concerned for Britons who’ve set up businesses and are now unable to plan ahead, and scared that France’s medical services will no longer be available to them. Both have ongoing medical problems, are on medication and could not afford to fund their own care. Pensions are another cause for concern, as a freeze on the already ungenerous amount would cause a financial disaster.

Although it’s the last thing they want, returning to the UK would see the state picking up the full costs of their medications and treatment and they’d be entitled to rate and rent subsidies as they’d be unable to afford to buy a house even if they were allowed a mortgage at their ages. For this mid-70’s couple, who’ve paid taxes and social security payments all their working lives, it’s none of the UK’s business where they choose to spend their retirement. They decided on France on the understanding that they could live an affordable life as EU citizens without penalties from the UK government. Britain, they state, has no right to change that.
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