LONDON | Discontent about the government’s economic policies fuels a desire to leave Britain among millionaires, whose confidence in the coalition cabinet’s economic policies is falling as their finances suffer. Just under half the UK’s millionaires, according to a research published Monday by investment specialist Skandia, would set home somewhere else.
Graham Bentley, Skandia UK’s head of investment strategy, echoed the wealthiest’s mute threat, accusing primer minister David Cameron of aping the Labour government of the late 1970s:
“The largely symbolic attacks on higher earners have little economic benefit, and simply serve to persuade these otherwise important contributors to Treasury coffers to depart for friendlier tax-regimes. 40% of a great deal is better than 50% of nothing.”
In its report, Skandia noted a few measures that would help avoid the schism: the abolition of the 50p spite-tax, and promoting savings by maintaining pension tax-relief and removing irrational barriers between different tax-efficient products like pensions.
A third of the millionaires who answered the survey has seen finances shrink over the past 12 months and a quarter (24%) predict they will continue to lose out over the next 12 months. This has led to a drop in the number that say they trust the government’s economic plans, falling to less than half or 49%.
The findings reflect a similar picture that emerged in the first Skandia Millionaire Monitor survey conducted in June 2011. Then 56% of the millionaires polled said they would consider leaving Britain. Although the percentage has dropped back to 45%, it appears the increasing squeeze on this group’s wealth is encouraging a significant number of them to think about moving away.
Countries that are finding favour as alternative places to live include the USA (17%), Spain (14%), Australia (12%) and France (10%). A better standard of living abroad (20%), increasing cost of living (11%) and high taxation in the UK (10%) are among the main factors prompting them to consider selling up, along with a wish to escape the British weather (21%).