Friday, April 1, 2016

British Pensioners in Europe and beyond - An Analysis.



British Pensioners in Europe and beyond – An Analysis.
The emigration of pensioners to Europe and beyond.


 The countries coloured Blue are in the EU.  Those without star *  have pensions frozen at the time the recipient emigrated.  

Of  the 12,955,300 Citizens who receive the UK State Pension, by 2015 - 1,230,390 live outside the UK. That is 9.5%. 

QUESTIONS………………….
  1. Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
  2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
  3. Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
  4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
  5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
  6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?  - And Italy?
  7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008 - 2014? Why the increase to India – a frozen pension country?

Suggestions for the answers – derived from anecdotal evidence.
1.  Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
            It varies –
Often the housing costs are considerably cheaper.  (Much of Europe,)
Some are joining children who have previously emigrated. (Australia, Canada)
Some are returning to the land of their birth. (India? Jamaica? Ireland? )
Summer weather/climate is drier and warmer  (Much of  Europe)
The countries of retirement are English Speaking  (Ireland, N.Z. etc)
There is more space and a less hectic way of life (Much of Europe).
The desire for new adventure while there is still time -- 
Exposure to a different culture ,and, learning a new language, broadening experience
Some dislike of changes in the UK, especially any which restrict their lives.

2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
The threatening approach of a possible Brexit? (All Europe curves). The Times journal 29/03/16 reports that ‘a hundred a day are returning to the UK from Spain’.
See also Italy q.7 below. Austerity?
Remembering that everyone has a certain life-span.  The increase in numbers represents additions minus deaths.  It is likely that a ceiling in the curve of those emigrating would be reached. However note the countries where the %’s fall.
Further a slight addition could be of those who have achieved pensionable age whilst living abroad.

3.  Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
.Positive  - The pensioners do not use the physical facilities of the NHS, even though those in Europe get some payment of their medical care.  Those far from Europe get no support.
They free up some housing stock.
They do not use the free bus passes and TV licences which saves money.
Many have UK based investments, benefiting the economy, and could and would  do so more if the UK Government made it easier.
Negative – Their pensions are not all spent in the UK economy.

4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
Positive – as listed generally in answer to 1.
Negative – Lack of any voice at all at the political level – leading to no voice in the manner and use of UK investments.
A feeling of almost total neglect or lack of interest in them by the British Government.
In certain countries the pension falls in value year by year as it is frozen.

5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
Possibly the standard of living and Governance of these countries is a problem. Pakistan also has a frozen pension regime.

6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?.
The freezing of the State pension is a very likely cause.
And Italy?  Uncertain – The fears of a Brexit seem most likely.

7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008-2014?
N.Z. provides pensions which supplement the frozen UK pension and it is a very ‘English’ country.
Ireland is almost certainly the birth-land or ancestral land of many UK State pensioners. It has more space and in many ways is so similar to England.
France is adjacent to England and there is easy access to family and friends, within a short time travel.
India has a steadily rising economy, but is at present an economical country. It has little religious friction, and would be attractive to retiring ‘British’ Indians, who have done well in the UK.

Postscript –  It can be argued that it is in the interest of the British economy to encourage the pensioners to retire abroad (q.v. 3 above).  It is unfortunate that the Government puts difficulties in their way with regard to investing in British enterprises, and financial institutions. Many (especially in the EU) buy goods from the UK.
The figures are all derived from published Government Statistics on the State pension.