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The Ros Dodd column



If you're reading this on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday, maybe you'll be thinking of joining thegrowing exodus fromthis country which Ros Dodd reckons owes less to tax than our too-taxing lifestyle…

Apparently, nearly 10 million adults in Britain - that's one in five - are considering quitting Britain because they're racked off with the political parties for failing to deliver tax cuts.

This is according to an extensive survey conducted by the polling company ICM, which shows that an overwhelming majority of voters want to see a reduction in income and inheritance tax.

Er, did it really take an ‘extensive' survey to discover this?

Show me a British adult who wouldn't choose to pay less tax on their hard-earned income or for their families to pay less inheritance tax on their assiduously accrued savings?

More difficult to believe is that 10 million people are thinking of upping sticks and emigrating for those reasons alone. Isn't it a lot more likely that they want to sail off into the sunset because life in general might be rather nicer if they resided in, say, rural France or sun-kissed Italy?

These countries levy taxes too, don't you know, and if émigrés don't do their homework properly they could end paying inheritance tax both at home and abroad (so a wills specialist tells me).

No, the reason so many people either have jumped ship or are thinking of doing so is less prosaic than the ICM poll's findings suggest: they simply can't abide the way British society is evolving.

The shambles that is the NHS; the failure of the Government to effectively tackle disenchantment; segregation on the white sink estates and Asian and black ‘ghettos'; street crime (Britain has the ‘best' burglars in Europe, according to a new study by the EU); the ‘open door' immigration system; rocketing house prices; Tony Blair's blind love for George Bush, which drew us into the hideous war with Iraq…the list goes on.

All countries have their problems and lots of Britons who settle abroad quickly realise that the grass isn't always greener, but what draws people to countries such as France (outside Paris, anyway) is that they offer a way of life England once had - gentler, friendlier and less money-focused.

No one, surely, is going to uproot themselves and flee overseas simply to avoid paying more income tax or to ensure their kids will get more money when they die.

They will, however, be prepared to do so if they think their kids will be safer and better educated, they'll get more square footage for their money and they'll enjoy a less frenetic lifestyle, not to mention the better and cheaper wine and good food.

Still, Blair and co shouldn't worry unduly about the possible exodus: they'll soon replace the dwindled population with millions of Bulgarians, Romanians and the like.

No matter that many them will be drawing state handouts rather than paying income tax.


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