Over a Third of Wealthy People May Depart the UK

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High-earning Britons may be considering leaving the UK for greener pastures, according to a new survey by Lloyds TSB International.

We are not expecting a mass exodus

* Survey reveals 36 per cent of wealthy UK residents would like to move abroad

  • Fourteen per cent are ‘likely to leave in the next two years’
  • High-earners say that high taxes prompt them to consider emigration
  • People in the UK believe they are ‘financially worse off’ than those from other developed countries

Against the current economic backdrop, new research raises concerns that many wealthy people are considering leaving the UK. Some 36 per cent of people with more than £250,000 of savings and investments would like to move abroad. 14 per cent say they are likely to leave in the next two years.

The survey of 923 wealthy individuals was commissioned by Lloyds TSB International Wealth in the first of a new series of reports about wealthy people’s attitudes to emigration.

High taxes are cited as one of the key reasons for wealthy people to consider a move overseas – some 35 per cent of respondents said tax rates may prompt them to leave the UK. The only more common selections were the weather (44 per cent) and crime and antisocial behaviour (43 per cent).

Respondents also had more general concerns with life in the UK. 45 per cent think people in the UK are worse off financially than people in other developed countries, compared to a meagre 9 per cent who think people in the UK are better off. A further 30 per cent say the state of the UK economy has made the prospect of moving abroad more attractive to them.

“We are not expecting a mass exodus,” said Nicholas Boys Smith, Managing Director of Lloyds TSB International Wealth, “but, regrettably, many wealthy people are dissatisfied with life in the UK and are considering leaving.

“Many high earners are concerned about what they perceive as the tax increases that followed the financial crisis. Despite good recent developments, there are still many countries around which high earners believe offer lower tax regimes and importantly, a higher quality of life.

“The highest earning one per cent in this country contributed 23 per cent of all income tax receipts in 2008/9* and that was before the 50 per cent tax band was introduced. This, coupled with the growth that wealthy people create in their jobs and through their spending, shows that they play an extremely important role in the UK economy.”

As well as the introduction of the 50 per cent tax band for people earning over £150,000, wealthy people have been impacted by the elimination of personal allowances, an increased national insurance employee rate and the forthcoming withdrawal of tax relief for people contributing over £50,000 annually to a pension.

Nicholas Boys Smith added: “It is not our job to comment in any way on government policy or the UK tax system but it is a fact that (as our survey reveals) wealthy people remain concerned about the effect of fiscal austerity and high taxes on their finances. If this survey is correct we predict a rise in wealth people leaving the UK and taking their investments and bank accounts with them.”

Lloyds TSB International Wealth provides a range of banking and investment services for wealthy clients around the world. It is part of Lloyds TSB International which helps over 12,000 people set up a new international bank account each year.

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