UK retirees less willing to move abroad after Brexit vote, poll finds
The prospect of retiring to the sunny hills of Provence or the playas of Spain is less attractive since the EU referendum, with older voters concerned their healthcare would no longer be covered post-Brexit, a survey has found.
The research shows that 41% of over-50s who were previously considering leaving the UK to retire in continental Europe were now “less likely to move following Britain’s decision to leave the EU”.
Almost two-thirds of the over-50s surveyed said they were most concerned about losing access to the NHS, while more than a quarter expressed fears over a lack of suitable options for care in older age.
The poll of 1,011 men and women comes months after MPs were told that hundreds of thousands of Britons retired in Europe may be forced to return to the UK unless their healthcare continued to be covered in part, or in full, by the NHS.
This raised the prospect of an increased burden on the already strained NHS as an unintended consequence of Brexit.
Anchor, the charity that provides retirement and care homes in England that commissioned the poll, said it had seen a sixfold spike in inquiries since the referendum.
“Our research shows that people thinking about retirement want to feel stable and safe in older age,” said Anchor’s chief executive, Jane Ashcroft.
The charity said it has had 689 inquiries in the nine months since the vote for Brexit, compared with 93 in the period from 2015 to 2016.
A third of those polled cited warm weather as a significant factor in retirement location plans but this was trumped by stable income and access to good and affordable healthcare.
The most popular retirement destination is Spain, home to 90,000 out of the 190,000 who have worked in Britain but retired in Europe.
The next most popular destination, according to information provided to the health select committee by department of health official Paul MacNaught, is Ireland with 44,000 retirees. This may be explained by the numbers of Irish people who work in the UK and return for retirement. Third most popular is France, with 43,000 pensioners, followed by Cyprus with 12,000.
MacNaught told the committee that pensioners living abroad were costing the taxpayer less money with an average cost of £2,300 a year to the UK in payments to local health providers. This compared to an average annual cost of £4,500 to support a pensioner in the UK.