Taxation without representation for long term British expats overseas

Published:  19 Mar at 6 PM
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According to British lawmakers in favour of the private members’ bill, long-stay UK expats are now the ‘great disenfranchised’.

Expats from any world country except the UK who’ve settled down elsewhere on the planet bring with them the right to vote in elections and referendums back home, and the majority still have family and friends with whom they stay in touch. Expat Brits, however strong their attachment to the UK may be, are disallowed from making their voices heard after they’ve been away for 15 years. Anger over the situation has been expressed for decades, with successive British governments making false promises and taking no action.

The present bill, put forward by Conservative MP Glyn Davies, is lucky to have got beyond its first reading and into its second, mostly due to support given during the debate by Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith, Labour MP Mike Gapes and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran. However, Labour MP Sandy Martin had the brass nerve to state that Brit expats who’d lived overseas long-term were unlikely to have any close familial links with the UK, adding if they’d cared at all about their families they’d have brought them along when they emigrated. Another Labour member said re-establishing voting rights would be far too expensive and complicated.

According to strong supporter of the bill Sir Roger Gale, the Labour party is clearly opposed to the bill, adding its representatives had mounted an unsuccessful ‘talk it out’ operation during the reading. He said their next attempt to kill it would be at the committee or report stages, during the third reading or in the House of Lords. Private members’ bills, he added, are very vulnerably to political bias. The truth of the matter is obvious in that expats, especially those who chose to retire overseas, have paid taxes and social security all their working lives and the majority have stayed in touch with their children, grandchildren and siblings still living in the UK.

Especially since the Brexit referendum, British expats in EU member states have paid close attention to the political and social issues in the UK, keeping up to date via TV and the internet. Tens of thousands whose careers were within the UK government apparatus and who draw work-related government pensions are also paying UK taxes. This sector includes former teachers, police, health workers and the military, all of whom are victims of taxation without representation once they’ve been overseas for 15 years.
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