Monday, April 11, 2016

Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.

Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.
All these conjectural tales are based on knowledge of real people and events. 
Plainly, one cannot ask people of their experiences of the future.
 The composition, the names of people and their locations are entirely fictional.
Many people have not the information at hand to imagine what the future may hold. These tales are written to bring into focus what is known about the EU regulations and what the effects of their end might entail. The Tales cover five different age groups and backgrounds.
1. The small entrepreneur who took advantage of the EU freedom of movement.
2. The young student.
3. The mature professional
4. A young retired but active couple.
5. Two very elderly and very ordinary single women.

ONE - YEAR 2031 Bill Jarrold is a 60 year old man British born in Norwich. His parents were tenants of a small farm but have retired within the last few years and are feeling the affects of age.
Their son lives in Ginsac and married a French girl 28 years earlier.  In 2002 Bill had come over to France to set up a plumbing business1.  A fair number of British people live around Ginsac and he saw that it could be a thriving business, firstly with the Brits but hopefully also with the French people.  He knew he could undercut the French competitors by buying stock from the UK.  As time went by his trade expanded and he established a shop called ‘Kitchens-pour-tous’.   The ‘half English’ added a ‘cachet’ for the French.  He, and his wife Angeline did well, his two children grew up bilingual.  His own French, aided by his wife  became practically perfect.
Then in 2018 Brexit occurred – Nothing changed, he was well assimilated into the community.  But as the next five years passed, British clients became fewer2.  That was not much of a problem.  But the French government imposed an import duty3 on the materials he previously imported from the UK.  The paper work to deal with this increased and became an irritation but no great problem. He had to hike his prices but his French clients were not too disturbed. His work was top-notch.
But he became worried about his parents. “Why don’t you come and live near us?” -- “That’s lovely Bill. We will try to do that.”  - They got their visas4 from the French border check and visited Bill and Angeline and their two daughters, At the Mairie they completed forms for Cartes de Séjour 5. Later a letter arrived from the Mairie, saying in French “We regret that your request for residency cards has been refused because you do not have enough funds. And also we need to know that you will have health insurances.”
Notes –
1. Bill could do this because of ‘EU Freedom of Movement’.
2. Elderly British Citizens are tending to go ‘home’ or die and fewer arrive.
3. After Brexit, Governments can impose any rules they like. Free trade arrangements will not be in place.
4. Visas could be imposed. The EU could introduce tighter external border controls administered by each border State. They would probably be of little concern for UK citizens
5.  One has to demonstrate that one would not be a burden on the French State.

TWO - YEAR 2028  Julie Spinks is a lecturer in marine biology at the Brittany college of Marine Biology at Brest.  She was born in Hailsham. When she was eighteen in 2008 she went to study at the university at Exeter. She learned that she could study on a European Erasmus scholarship at Marseille.  She is a very intelligent girl and took advantage of that chance and not only got a high degree and doctorate but also became fluent in French.  So she got the job of her dreams. 
Her cousin Susan is ten years younger than her. The two families were very close because their mothers are sisters and they went on holidays together to Brittany.  Susan idolised her cousin and said ‘I am going to that as well!” .  When Susan was of an age to go to University in 2018,  the Brexit had happened.  She could no longer apply for an Erasmus scholarship because she was no longer a European Citizen.

Erasmus grants are available to young Europeans citizens to obtain degrees at universities in al EU States.  The scheme has recently been extended  by 16 million euros per year. Students can receive 300 euros a month  to study abroad.

THREE - YEAR 2019  Sheila Crabb is a professional international lawyer.  She began her career after qualifying in law in London by going to work for an international team in Bruges, Belgium.  That being close to the Centre of activities in the European Union she was attracted to working for  the European Centre in Brussels.   She became skilled in many aspects of Euro law.  She moved out to work in Trier, a vigorous German City just close to the Luxembourg border.  She acquired clients in Germany, Belgium and France, for by this time she was trilingual.  Brexit came.  Her professional status fell away, because she was not permitted to function in the European Courts as her qualification  was no longer that of a European State.

EU Directive 98/5/EC enables qualified  solicitors to work in any EU State.
There are similar opportunities for dentists, teachers and other professionals

FOUR - YEAR 2022 Roland Giles  likes the clothes he buys from John Lewis.  He lives in Spain a few kilometres in from Valencia on the Coast.  In England he worked in John Lewis’s clothing department.  He moved to Spain on retirement in 1999, so has been there for 23 years.   Every so often he places an order for some clothing.  His wife also used to buy ‘stuff’ from Britain by mail order, such as pots and pans from a Lake District supplier when they changed their cooker to an ‘induction’ type.  They paid by their credit card.  After the Brexit vote in 2016, nothing much changed.  Then the UK began re-negotiations with various EU States on commercial activities.  There followed much argument reported in the popular English papers in Spain and the other countries.  Spain and France first, protecting their own industries, imposed duties on goods imported from abroad1.  Then British shops increased the  restriction on the use of credit card payments from within the EU2. The goods increased in price.  The Spanish Government then, feeling a need to increase the supply of funds to their treasury, imposed an extra tax1 on properties belonging to foreigners.
1 After Brexit any State can impose any taxes where they will.
2. As it is now, some British companies refuse payment on Credit Cards where the registered address is outside the UK.  Such restrictions appear to flout EU existing regulations  and need correction. After Brexit, there is no possibility of the freedom of movement of services being fully implemented.

FIVE - YEAR 2024 Mary Ellis was born in 1936 Wanstead, London.  She never married. Her working life was spent as a typist. She is now nearing ninety years old and lives in Normandy.  She moved when she was sixty two with her dear friend Rosemary (aged 56) in 1998.  She and Rosemary felt they could enjoy their retirement years in more comfort than in the UK.  They bought a house together for far less than they could afford in the UK.  Their two pensions could give them a reasonable standard of living. Rosemary had retired early because she had phlebitis which made walking difficult.  Their health care costs were partly covered by the British Government through the EU agreements. Not that they fully understood that at the time.  They knew that others had retired to France and it seemed alright for others, so it ought to be O.K. for them. The Brexit vote came in 2016.  Nothing much changed. They were aware of the fuss on the BBC TV and radio, easily received in Normandy.  Their pensions arrived on time, they received the Winter Fuel Payment and Rosemary had, she thought, her Disability Living Allowance.  They had had a worry when for a time Rosemary was not granted the Disability Allowance1, and were grateful when through the protestations of other younger Britons abroad, it was restored.  They had a shock in 2015 when the Winter Fuel allowance1 (as they called it) stopped.  After Brexit all such benefits stopped across the EU.  They still are worried about their State pensions.  The Conservatives were considering bringing in a Statutory Instrument to limit the annual increases.2 The current Labour Government since 2020 is still discussing arrangements with the EU States.  Trouble has arisen over matters of ‘mutuality’ and whether mutual arrangements have to be made with each of the 27 States or collectively via the EU Commission3. The Commission argues that the UK is now a foreign power. The French State is still covering their health costs as though they are French nationals – as an act of humanity, but is arguing with the UK Government about funding.   France does not see why the British elderly should be a drain on its funds4,  “Why should the French tax payer find the cost!”
The argument between France and the UK5 and the European Commission goes on and on and Mary and Rosemary hear much via the TV but philosophically say ‘whatever will be, will be’. They are pawns in a game between the Governments.  The Prime Minister argues with the French President. The EU Commission more or less says ‘You voted out!’ – The EU has troubles6 enough with the other States, particularly the Netherlands, and Denmark, and then Putin is still putting pressure on the Baltic States, which include a Russian population.  The EU can’t be bothered about Rosemary and Mary. They are foreigners.
1. The WFP was stopped for pensioners in France by Iain Duncan Smith on spurious grounds.
The DLA was only allowed after the EU made representations to the UK.
2.  The outflow of sterling could force the Government to find various austerity measures. The Pension Act of 2014 enables them to freeze the State pension to those living abroad -  The release of EU protective regulations now permits this for the EU States.
3. The EU Commission has the role of co-ordination between the EU States and between those States and outside . If the UK wishes to agree to any EU regulations it cannot at the same time be entirely outside the EU.
4. There were in 2007 only 85 French pensioners in the UK benefiting from the NHS as a free health service.
In 2007 the French demanded 4162 euros per head from the UK for each of the 34,000 British pensioners in France.  There are now 69,000 such pensioners. Assuming that now the cost for health care is likely to be over 4,500 euros/head at the very least, the global sum will be now exceed 310,000,000 euros per year.  Seriously, would France ask the French tax payer to pay this sum?
But those pensioners are not using the staff nor the physical structure of the NHS in the UK.
5. Not dissimilar problems would arise with Spain (particularly) and other EU States
6. The right wing parties in other EU States are pressuring their governments. Russia will see the Brexit as a weakening of the EU.  A certain amount of political discord would follow a Brexit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The future for The British Citizen if the vote should fall for Brexit.

The Prime Minister speaks forcibly to The Telegraph. Read

Mr.Cameron in the above speaks of Trade.  What is written below is from the viewpoint of a Citizen who was born in 1932.  I remember years of poverty before WWII  even as far back as the jubilee of King George V, the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, when as a four year old I danced round a celebratory bonfire singing the song of  the Boy Scouts in charge ‘There may be flies on you you you, but the’re no flies on us”.   Within a few years those Scouts were fighting for European civilisation.
I voted in the Referendum of 1975 and knew quite well what we were voting for.
Since the terrible times of 1939-1945 much has changed.  I took advantage of the European Union to retire to live in France.  I celebrate the cementing of European Culture across the nation states.  During my time I have had more irritation with British bureaucratic intransigence than with the French.  What follows is a view of the problems facing those who would follow in our paths.
The Generations of British Citizens to come who might wish to live in other EU States.
Jobs.  Those seeking to be employed would have to obtain some form of work permit. Unskilled workers would find it extremely hard to establish themselves, if it were at all possible. Those wishing to set up businesses – perhaps as plumbers or other technical craftsmen would find it near impossible.
Money exchange – There would be no guarantee that State pensions would be paid without  change -  British Law – The Pension Act 2014 clause 20 - permits the Minister of DWP to freeze pensions paid to citizens who live abroad. The clause was included despite protests.
All money transfers -The individual EU States could impose a tax on money coming from the UK.  It has happened before. 
The British Government could impose ceilings on money going abroad – it has done so before – Mrs Thatcher removed such a ceiling.
Without the protection afforded by EU regulations nothing is certain.  This will be labelled scare mongering by Brexiteers – but what is certain is the uncertainty. If Brexit should fall, all would depend on negotiations between the UK and the other 27 States, taking years.
Uncertainty will cause the value of the £ to fall.
Possibilities of other restrictions.  With the lifting of the protection of the EU regulations, each EU State is able to act independently.  This opens the way for restrictions to be imposed on Bank accounts of foreigners or on their property or any other discriminatory taxes and laws, without any EU wide protection..  The incipient freedom to open UK based bank accounts and use UK financial institutions would falter.
Medical Care.  Again it is the EU regulation [883/2004] which establishes the right to provision of health care across the EU.  This is at two levels.
1. The European Health Insurance Card –EHIC .  This is issued by the citizen’s ‘Competent State’ for Social Security to all travellers within the EU and entitles such to any emergency treatment for visitors in another State. This would cease.
2. The treatment for resident pensioners and their dependents.  The Medical care is given as though one is a national of the State where the Citizen is resident but the cost of that is borne by the NHS. – (i.e the Social Security of the ‘Competent State’).
Visa requirements  As happens now with Americans who wish to reside in France et alia,  immigrants (for that is what future citizens would be) would be required to demonstrate financial stability. This can affect accompanying spouses and the visits of Family and Friends.  Visas often have time limits.
Citizenship.  The possibility of voting for and serving on local communal councils will cease.  British citizens will no longer be considered as normal members of the community. This will cause changes of approach at any public department where  public servants operate.
Border checks.  British Citizens would have to pass through NON-EU gates at the EU borders which would be likely to prove onerous with more detailed inspection.
Nationality British Citizens would cease to be European Citizens protected under EU law. They would be immigrants and foreigners. Britons living abroad could apply for nationality of  the country in which they reside, but it is an expensive and lengthy process and Austria does not permit dual citizenship. Surrendering British Nationality would be foolish.
Brian Cave with the help of Frank Jackson.

Friday, April 1, 2016

British Pensioners in Europe and beyond - An Analysis.

British Pensioners in Europe and beyond – An Analysis.
The emigration of pensioners to Europe and beyond.

 The countries coloured Blue are in the EU.  Those without star *  have pensions frozen at the time the recipient emigrated.  

Of  the 12,955,300 Citizens who receive the UK State Pension, by 2015 - 1,230,390 live outside the UK. That is 9.5%. 

  1. Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
  2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
  3. Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
  4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
  5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
  6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?  - And Italy?
  7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008 - 2014? Why the increase to India – a frozen pension country?

Suggestions for the answers – derived from anecdotal evidence.
1.  Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
            It varies –
Often the housing costs are considerably cheaper.  (Much of Europe,)
Some are joining children who have previously emigrated. (Australia, Canada)
Some are returning to the land of their birth. (India? Jamaica? Ireland? )
Summer weather/climate is drier and warmer  (Much of  Europe)
The countries of retirement are English Speaking  (Ireland, N.Z. etc)
There is more space and a less hectic way of life (Much of Europe).
The desire for new adventure while there is still time -- 
Exposure to a different culture ,and, learning a new language, broadening experience
Some dislike of changes in the UK, especially any which restrict their lives.

2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
The threatening approach of a possible Brexit? (All Europe curves). The Times journal 29/03/16 reports that ‘a hundred a day are returning to the UK from Spain’.
See also Italy q.7 below. Austerity?
Remembering that everyone has a certain life-span.  The increase in numbers represents additions minus deaths.  It is likely that a ceiling in the curve of those emigrating would be reached. However note the countries where the %’s fall.
Further a slight addition could be of those who have achieved pensionable age whilst living abroad.

3.  Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
.Positive  - The pensioners do not use the physical facilities of the NHS, even though those in Europe get some payment of their medical care.  Those far from Europe get no support.
They free up some housing stock.
They do not use the free bus passes and TV licences which saves money.
Many have UK based investments, benefiting the economy, and could and would  do so more if the UK Government made it easier.
Negative – Their pensions are not all spent in the UK economy.

4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
Positive – as listed generally in answer to 1.
Negative – Lack of any voice at all at the political level – leading to no voice in the manner and use of UK investments.
A feeling of almost total neglect or lack of interest in them by the British Government.
In certain countries the pension falls in value year by year as it is frozen.

5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
Possibly the standard of living and Governance of these countries is a problem. Pakistan also has a frozen pension regime.

6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?.
The freezing of the State pension is a very likely cause.
And Italy?  Uncertain – The fears of a Brexit seem most likely.

7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008-2014?
N.Z. provides pensions which supplement the frozen UK pension and it is a very ‘English’ country.
Ireland is almost certainly the birth-land or ancestral land of many UK State pensioners. It has more space and in many ways is so similar to England.
France is adjacent to England and there is easy access to family and friends, within a short time travel.
India has a steadily rising economy, but is at present an economical country. It has little religious friction, and would be attractive to retiring ‘British’ Indians, who have done well in the UK.

Postscript –  It can be argued that it is in the interest of the British economy to encourage the pensioners to retire abroad (q.v. 3 above).  It is unfortunate that the Government puts difficulties in their way with regard to investing in British enterprises, and financial institutions. Many (especially in the EU) buy goods from the UK.
The figures are all derived from published Government Statistics on the State pension.