One in five Britons with more than £250,000 in savings (the equivalent of about $400,000) are thinking of living abroad because they are tired of crime, poor weather and the high cost of living, the wealth management arm of Lloyds Banking Group said on Monday.
Britain, facing the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, is grappling with how to preserve its image as a safe-haven for the international rich while increasing taxes and slashing public spending.
But the research from Lloyds TSB International Wealth showed that 19 per cent of wealthy Britons were thinking of moving to euro zone countries like France and Spain or further afield to the United States, Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
“It is clear that a significant and growing minority see opportunity and a better quality of life overseas,” said Lloyds TSB International Wealth Director Nicholas Boys Smith, who oversaw the report.
“Our research suggests the number of wealthy people leaving the U.K. is set to increase in the next two years,” he said.
“Clearly there’s a growing minority that is worried about the outlook – infrastructure, crime, anti-social behaviour, tax, red tape – and do believe that there are better options abroad.”
He added: “What’s interesting is one of the highest proportions of people looking to leave are wealthy people living in London, and the highest proportion of wealthy people looking to leave are aged 25-34.”
So what could stop the rich from fleeing Britain’s green and pleasant shores?
More than 60 per cent of those interviewed said that investing in better infrastructure would make Britain a more attractive place to live in, while about half said they wanted less red tape for businesses and lower taxes.
With most of Britain’s 62 million people facing the pinch of rising prices and muted wage growth, the taxation of the rich has become a headache for the Conservative-Liberal coalition government.