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Britons Shun The UK For Warmer Climes

by Phillip Morton, Investors

13 November 2008

Better weather is the top reason that UK expats prefer living abroad, according to the latest poll conducted by Alliance & Leicester International (ALIL), the offshore savings bank.

Well over half (57%) of the respondents to ALIL's survey cited the UK's bad weather as the main reason why they prefer to remain abroad, while 56% considered that their adopted home offered a better quality of life than Britain, and 53% of expats said that they have a higher standard of living.

Completing the top ten reasons why expats rate their new home over the UK are: safer/lower crime rate (49%); slower pace of life (36%); higher income (30%); better food (28%); the expat lifestyle (27%); mixing with the local people (26%); and a more social society (19%).

However, there are some downsides to moving abroad. Over half (51%) of expats miss their family and one in five (21%) struggle with language barriers. Almost one in ten (9%) admit to missing British food. Unsurprisingly, only 4% claim to miss the UK’s weather.

Expats who have moved abroad to run a business, as well as those who emigrated for family reasons also rated weather as their number one ‘pull’ for living abroad (70% and 60% respectively). 50% of those who moved overseas for business purposes rated standard of living and safety as joint second favourites, and 45% placed the slower pace of life in their new country at third.

After weather, people who emigrated for family reasons felt that the better quality of life and feeling safer in their new country were important - rating them in second and third place (45% and 40% respectively).

Australia and Spain came out top as the countries which are home to the most satisfied expats. Eighty-six per cent of those living Down Under voted weather as the best thing about the country, with 80% saying standard of living and 73% quality of life were the best things about the country.

However, a massive 87% said that the worst factor about living in Oz was that they were so far away from their family. Spain also fared extremely well, with 92% putting weather at the top of the list, while 85% appreciated the slower pace of living as well as feeling safer in Spain than in the UK.

New Zealand also scored highly in the poll due to its favourable costs and high quality of life. Nearly two thirds (62%) said standard of living and quality of life were the best things about living abroad as opposed to the UK. In recent research by ALIL, New Zealand topped the poll for both of these, as a result of its low costs for food, drink and fuel as well as a favourable tax regime.

Simon Ripton, Joint Managing Director of Alliance and Leicester International comments: “The survey findings show that many Brits have moved abroad in an attempt to escape the UK’s dismal weather. Other factors that have emerged as being important to expats are improved quality of life and a better standard of living. However, although countries like Australia can offer good weather in abundance, the poll revealed that many Brits claim the worst thing about living abroad is missing friends and family – which just goes to show that there are some home comforts that can’t be found abroad."

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