More wealthy people are considering leaving the UK over issues like high taxes, poor public services, too much red tape and lack of investment in infrastructure, new research has found.
Some 19% of wealthy people are considering moving abroad in the next two years, up from 17% six months ago and 14% a year ago, according to the poll by Lloyds TSB International Wealth.
The new figure suggests that more than half a million people, some 544,000, with over £250,000 of savings and investments (excluding property) may leave in the next two years and this is not restricted to the small number of internationally mobile, ultra high net worth individuals.
Investing in better infrastructure is seen as the most important way to make the UK a more attractive place to live, with 61% of wealthy people choosing this option. Some 49% wanted to see red tape for businesses cut and 45% wanted lower taxes while 44% sought improving public services like healthcare, education and the police.
Crime and anti social behaviour is the most popular reason for people to contemplate leaving the UK, chosen by 56% of those considering leaving in the next two years. However, this is a significant fall of 5% from the last time this survey was conducted shortly after the August riots in 2011.
As well as socio economic concerns about the UK, wealthy people understandably have meteorological misgivings too. Some 55% of people considering leaving the UK say the weather is a key factor, making it the second most popular choice narrowly ahead of the high cost of living on 53%.
While the figures do reveal that a minority of wealthy people are discontent about life in the UK, a majority of 62% said they are currently happy with the UK as a place to live, compared to 15% who are unhappy.
‘Our research suggests the number of wealthy people leaving the UK is set to increase in the next two years. This includes the large number of successful, affluent individuals who play an important role in powering the UK economy,’ said Nicholas Boys Smith, director, Lloyds TSB International Wealth.
‘While the figures strongly suggest we won’t see a mass exodus, it is clear that a significant and growing minority see opportunity and a better quality of life overseas,’ he added.
The research also found that 42% of wealthy Britons think the UK offers a worse quality of life than other developed countries, against 13% who disagree.
And 41% think life in Britain is generally more stressful than life overseas, while only 4% disagree while 43% of affluent individuals think that people in Britain are generally unhappier than those abroad, against 6% who disagree.