White paper loses some 800000 Brit expats in EU

Published:  16 Jul at 6 PM
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The mystery loss of some 800,000 UK expats formerly listed as living in EU member states is confusing, to say the least.

Until the publication of Theresa May’s white paper on Brexit, an estimate of around 1.2 million British expats was considered accurate by government spokespersons and the media alike, and is still used as a total by the BBC, various British in Europe campaign groups and many other media outlets. It’s been quoted as accurate by the independent think-tank Migration Watch and also by the UK in a Changing Europe project undertaken by Kings College London, which confirms the figures came from a United Nations survey.In 2014.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office answer to a related parliamentary question gave the figure as some 2,197,800 Brits ensconced all across EU member states, not including Croatia which joined the EU in 2013. However, Jeremy Corbyn had other ideas in early 2016, saying there were almost three quarters of a million Britons living in Spain and a further two million spread across the rest of the EU. The trend for quoting ever lower figures appears to have begun last year with the Office of National Statistics’ latest estimate set at around 900,000 and based on EU census figures.

Even so, at the beginning of 2018, the Department for Exiting the European Union stated an agreement had been made concerning three million EU citizens resident in the UK and a million Britons living in EU member states. The one million seems to have now shrunk to 800,000. Estimates of the number of Brits living, working or retiring in France seem to be having the same problem, with the British Ambassador in 2010 saying he didn’t have exact figures and the current incumbent resorting to ‘upwards of 200,000 in 2016’. At the same time, the ONS’s figures suggest 157,000, according to a 2017 study.

One wonders how, when government attempts to calculate the cost of leaving the EU as regards state pensions and increased healthcare costs due to returning Brits over the age of say, 70 years, as well as various benefits, the cost of care homes and so on, it’s at all possible for it to guarantee the total needing to be spent to ensure all those who’d rather be overseas have at least some quality of life back in the UK.
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