British expats in Spain could return home after Brexit
More than 100,000 Britons in Spain may have to pack their bags and leave the sunshine due to the political upheaval in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
Independent political commentator Paul Quigley warned expats are “living in limbo”.
Mr Quigley told the Daily Star Online: “Expats are ultimately living in limbo – they’ll be treading water for the next 18 months at least.
Expats are ultimately living in limbo – they’ll be treading water for the next 18 months at least
“We might have a situation soon where electricity costs more in Spain than it does over here so of course people are going to look to come home.
“They went over there for the sun and the luxury lifestyle but what happens when they can’t afford it anymore?
“Sadly, they’re about to find out that the reality’s never as good as the brochure.
“It’s been like this ever since the crash in 2008 but Brexit is the crowning jewel."
Mr Quigley warned the Spanish government faces an economic dilemma as it continues to need investment from British tourism but is unable to negotiate an independent trade deal.
He said: “The Spanish economy needs Brits – the money from tourism is absolutely essential.
“After Brexit they could look to deal with us but because they’ll be in the EU – and we won’t – they can’t.
“Youth unemployment is rocketing, the currency is stagnating and inflation is rampant.
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“Brits could well have to start packing their bags because Spain simply cannot do a bilateral deal with us.”
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More than 100,000 Britons in Spain may have to pack their bags
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Around 108,000 of the 300,000 Britons in Spain are pensioners
As well as rising prices, uncertainty over healthcare is also making some British pensioners consider returning home.
With the British Government yet to guarantee their healthcare will continue to be reimbursed by the NHS campaigners have warned Brexit could see a surge in pensioners coming back.
The House of Commons Brexit select committee heard British pensioners in Spain may struggle to afford private healthcare if the NHS can no longer foot the bill.
Sue Wilson, one of the founders of the Remain in Spain group, said: “They may have no alternative but to come back.
Theresa May is yet to guarantee British expats that their healthcare will continue
“We have got to get away from this perception that they are all there having a good time. Many moved to Spain in the first place because it was cheaper to live there, because it was cheaper to buy a property.
“These people can’t wait for two and a half years to get a resolution.
“Many of those people, if they were forced to return, not only would they be worse off financially and be a drain on the NHS and perhaps the housing market, they are also going to suffer with their health, so it’s not just a financial impact, it’s an impact perhaps with their life expectancy.
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“A big concern is people wondering if they have free healthcare in future, particularly if you are elderly. If your only alternative was private, for most that would be the difference between staying in Spain and leaving.”
Around 108,000 of the 300,000 Britons in Spain are pensioners.
Dave England, 64, moved to Spain after retiring as a nurse in the UK.
He told the Star: “After the fall in property prices from the 2008 crisis, sale of my home would not buy me a half-share in a bedsit in the UK.
“So selling up to return would be difficult but as the Government have so far refused to commit to maintaining healthcare it is something I and many of my fellow ex-pat pensioners must consider.”