EX-PATS in Spain are about to demand dual nationality when a handful of them head for Westminster.
Just five people with ex-pat interests in Spain are expected give evidence before the Exiting EU Committee, chaired by Labour MP Hilary Benn, on January 18. Amongst them is expected to be Madrid-based Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett who said: “We need the people who are discussing this in Westminster to start thinking about the one million Brits who are most affected by Brexit.”
Tremlett and fellow journalist William Chislett launched a Change.org petition following the Brexit referendum result last year and they are now calling on the Spanish government to make the offer to the 25,000 Britons who have lived out there for more than a decade.
Tremlett, said: “The plans of tens of thousands of British people in Spain who have made their lives here, their careers here, made their families here have changed dramatically against their wills.
“Most of those people would have voted Remain, but lots of them did not have a vote. Other than being able to vote in the European elections, we are completely disenfranchised if we have lived out of the UK for 15 years.
“We are qualified people who contribute to the Spanish economy. But now do not know what will happen to our pension rights and our health rights.
“The main fear is that the whole process will take so long that we will all live in a state of limbo for two, three, four, five years.
“We would be unable to make decisions about such basic things as where to live, how to organise one’s life etc when you don’t know what your rights are going to be.”
“We are just being used as a bargaining tool. If that is going to be the approach the three million and the million must stand together.”
Tremett said the group hopes to form a European umbrella coalition to fight for British expats’ rights in the coming months and years.
Meanwhile, new figures show that Spain has the second-highest life expectancy in the world with more than 100,000 people reaching their 100th birthday.
Average life expectancy in Spain is now 83.2, just 0.2 years lower than Japan’s 83.4. Experts cite the country’s healthy Mediterranean diet which includes high amounts fish, fruit and vegetables.
Spain is also known for offering a good quality of life with a low cost of living.
However, new research shows that those in some of the country’s regional capitals are spending far more than their compatriots in other parts of the country.
Research shows that Barcelona residents are paying as much as 30.17pc more than the national average cost of living in Spain. This is higher than San Sebastian, which is 27.85pc above the national average, and Madrid at 22.72pc.
The cost of living in cities, percentage above or below the national average Barcelona, San Sebastian and Bilbao also top the league when it comes to paying a premium for property, with a flat measuring 80 square metres in these cities costing from €241,000 to €328,000 on average. The typical flat of a similar size elsewhere in Spain would cost an average of €131,000.
If you choose to rent in either Barcelona or San Sebastian, you will again be paying a premium. The national average monthly rent for a similar-sized property would be €561.60, with Barcelona costing €970.40 (72.79pc more) and San Sebastian €940 (67.38pc more). At the other end of the scale, Lugo would be 40.88pc less at just €332 on average, with Ourense at €351.20, putting it 37.46pc below the average cost.
According to Foreign Office figures, there were more than 770,000 British people resident in Spain in 2014 – placing it behind only the USA (2.2m) and Australia (1.1m) in popularity.
The news comes at a time when many expats are finding it difficult to live on their British pensions in Spain. With the pound weakening against the euro, they are getting less for their money than they are used to. For example, in mid November the pound was worth €1.43 according to data from currency experts Moneycorp, which would have generated €1,430 for every £1,000 of pension. Today, the pound is worth just €1.28, meaning that same £1,000 would be worth just €1,280 – €150 less.
So, if you decide to up sticks and head for the sun today how would you stand financially?
The good news is that, although the Pound might not buy you as many Euros as it did this time last year, the cost of living in Spain is particularly appealing due to its lower costs across the board, including properties, groceries and eating out.
- Consumer Prices in United Kingdom are 27.47% higher than in Spain
- Consumer Prices Including Rent are 40.37% higher
- Rent is 81.29% higher than in Spain
- Restaurant Prices are 43.92% higher than in Spain
- Groceries Prices are 24.06% higher than in Spain
And it’s sunny!