The flight of 'middle income grafters' from the UK causes concern

An MP calls for action as a poll reveals the UK is losing those with 'the skills the economy needs'.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 11 Sep 2013
In a poll of 5,000 British expats, 39% of respondents identified themselves as skilled technicians and 23% as self-employed. Just 8% work in financial services, suggesting the majority of people leaving this country are ‘middle income grafters, not bonus-chasing bankers,’ Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, said.

The poll was conducted by Global Visas, an immigration and relocation consultancy. Australia was the top destination for those who took part and more than half of the respondents earned between £20,000 and £100,000; and over 40% earned between £20,000 and £50,000.

Almost half of those put lack of career prospects in the UK as the main reason for quitting the country, with a fifth blaming the high cost of living. Britain’s uncertain economic future was cited by 13% and high taxes were blamed by 11%.

The poll, however, didn’t mention the total number of Britons leaving the UK each year.

The Telegraph noted that in a recent post on political website Conservative Home, Mr Raab said he was struck by the fact that the poll showed ‘an exodus of middle class Britons’ at the same time as figures showed the number of foreigners claiming benefits in Britain has jumped 40% in four years to more than 400,000.

‘The ‘squeezed middle’ are increasingly amongst those searching for a better life abroad. That is economically draining, because they are net contributors of tax, and provide skills the economy needs. Equally, the hollowing out of the middle class risks exacerbating the social divisions of an hourglass economy,’ he added.

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