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Voting rights for expats

(38 Posts)
MawBe Fri 28-May-21 07:38:20

This should please a lot of people - not least Jura/Biba if she is still following GN.
From this mornings DT
British expats will get lifetime rights to vote in general elections, as the Government scraps a time limit on casting ballots from abroad

The Elections Bill will remove the “arbitrary” rule which requires those who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in a general election. It will also include measures that will allow overseas voters to stay on the register for longer.

British citizens overseas deserve to have their voices heard in our Parliament no matter where they live
Ministers believe that expats should have a say because decisions made by MPs on areas such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions, and trade deals affect them wherever they live in the world.

The new rights will benefit up to three million overseas voters. Ministers have also discussed similar rights for expats in referenda, a move that could have a dramatic effect on any future independence ballot for Scotland as it would boost a “no” vote .

There is no reference to such a move in the Bill – and it would have to be part of a separate piece of legislation instituting a referendum and would be fiercely opposed by the SNP

mokryna Fri 28-May-21 14:16:54

sodapop

We pay taxes globally Urmstongran there is some reduction in French tax to allow for the fact that tax is paid in UK.
Of course decisions made by the UK government impact on us at times in regard to pensions, taxation, freedom of movement etc.
We don't abandon any feelings for our homeland just because we live in a different country, movement within Europe was encouraged before Brexit now things have changed.
There are more French people living in UK than vice versa. Or this was the case before Brexit.

I am present and I pay UK taxes.

Ginny42 Fri 28-May-21 13:32:04

My daughter has lived abroad for 25 years, but works for a British company and is paid in sterling to a UK bank. She pays a considerable amount of tax in England in addition to employing an English accountant to deal with her affairs. I feel she should have a right to vote. Just saying.

sodapop Fri 28-May-21 12:44:41

We pay taxes globally Urmstongran there is some reduction in French tax to allow for the fact that tax is paid in UK.
Of course decisions made by the UK government impact on us at times in regard to pensions, taxation, freedom of movement etc.
We don't abandon any feelings for our homeland just because we live in a different country, movement within Europe was encouraged before Brexit now things have changed.
There are more French people living in UK than vice versa. Or this was the case before Brexit.

GrandmaKT Fri 28-May-21 10:38:03

Urmstongran

Well my Scottish stepfather will be voting ‘no’ then in any Indy2 referendum.

Actually though, I’m not sure that I agree with these new proposals. Maybe (cynically) it’s because Brexit is done now?

I know several ex-pats in Spain who voted for Brexit. I think they are regretting it now though!

Casdon Fri 28-May-21 10:37:07

There are apparently about 5 million British expats in total. Of the 2m already eligible to vote, only 230,000 chose to do so in the 2019 election. If the same percentage opting to vote applies to the 3m additional eligible voters then we could expect 350,000 or so more voters in the system. I guess it just depends how many still want to influence.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 10:25:22

Thank you for explaining it to me Welshwife.
😊

Welshwife Fri 28-May-21 10:13:13

People who have a Govt pension- teachers, healthcare workers, military etc have NO choice but to pay the tax on that pension in the U.K. Any other pensions - such as old age pension - or other earnings is taxed in the country of residence. There is a bi-lateral treaty with some countries at least so that people are not taxed twice on the same income.
We do still have the vote because we have yet to pass the 15 year mark but pay tax in both countries.

Brexit has taken away the rights to vote in local elections in the country of residence whether or not you pay taxes and naturally the right to vote in European elections.

Ellianne Fri 28-May-21 10:11:13

Our children were going intp UK university education while we lived abroad so it was important for us to vote. 15 years later, I'm not so sure we would be over concerned and would have just accepted it. Many expats do what they feel works for them at the time, that's why they can sometimes be unpopular.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 10:08:43

We are like a Venn diagram Alegrias - we overlap in some areas!
😂

Ellianne Fri 28-May-21 10:06:07

Should such people have been allowed to vote ‘in case’?
In that way, I guess what you're saying Wizend is that it becomes like an insurance policy for them?

Callistemon Fri 28-May-21 10:00:31

Alegrias1

Pass the smelling salts maddyone grin.

Doubly shocked because I agree with Urmstongran too - especially the post at 9:32!

😁

Which is, I suspect what this is about.
Keeping Scotland in the UK.

Yes, sounds like a sly move to scupper the Scottish referendum.
Not that I have a suspicious mind and I'd prefer you to stay, of course.

Kali2 Fri 28-May-21 09:57:54

Petera

Urmstongran

It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.

Eh?
Sorry to be dim Petera but I thought the tax situation was the main crux of the 180 days +. 1 guidelines? Whichever you choose stay in the most gets your taxes?
🤔

No - it should be a simple as that but unfortunately not. People who have left the UK can still declare it as their 'residence' even if they never visit.

How?

Personally I have mixed feelings about this.

After 15 years, many expats become a bit detached from the realities of 'back home' and often will not be affected by the consequence of their vote. Should people be allowed to vote on things which will have no influence on their own lives? Not sure. Pink coloured glasses, nostalgia, and more.

I wonder what the proportion of over 15 year expats would have been, re Brexit, for instance.

Witzend Fri 28-May-21 09:55:32

If someone’s gone to live abroad, intending to stay there for good, I can’t see why they should have the right to vote after being away for 15 years.

It’s a bit different with expats who are abroad for work, but know they will return one day. We lived abroad for 13 years because that was where dh’s work took him, but it was never going to be permanent. Though having said that, during that time we wouldn’t have expected to be able to vote in U.K. elections. Not least because we weren’t paying UK tax, except (IIRC) on the rental income from our U.K. home.

We know several who stayed away rather longer than we did, but again, it was never going to be for good - they all returned eventually.

I know couples who retired to e.g. France or Spain, fully intending it to be for good, but returned when circumstances changed - either finances or illness, in particular one partner developing dementia and having completely forgotten the second language they’d become proficient in, which made help with care very difficult. Should such people have been allowed to vote ‘in case’?

Alegrias1 Fri 28-May-21 09:54:01

Pass the smelling salts maddyone grin.

Doubly shocked because I agree with Urmstongran too - especially the post at 9:32!

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:50:39

So does that mean they are living ‘under the radar’ where they are then Petera? Which is obviously wrong.

I may of course have misunderstood you.

maddyone Fri 28-May-21 09:47:47

Don’t fall over Alegrias but I agree with you. If expats decide to return to the UK then of course they would, as citizens, be able to vote again. Fifteen years is reasonable, any longer is not. When people have decided to live abroad and pay their taxes to another country, and have stayed there for more than fifteen years, then in my opinion they should not have the right to contribute an opinion as to which government we have. That government will enact policies that effect those living in Britain far more than people not living in Britain. No one should ever lose their right to citizenship though, but that’s not being suggested.

Callistemon Fri 28-May-21 09:47:44

Even though it would probably result in a resounding no in any the Scottish referendum, I still do not think this would be the right thing to do.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:47:33

Urmstongran

^It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.^

Eh?
Sorry to be dim Petera but I thought the tax situation was the main crux of the 180 days +. 1 guidelines? Whichever you choose stay in the most gets your taxes?
🤔

No - it should be a simple as that but unfortunately not. People who have left the UK can still declare it as their 'residence' even if they never visit.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:47:10

Can you elucidate sodapop? I still don’t get it. I didn’t think you could pay taxes here if you lived abroad. I honestly thought that was the whole point of the 180 day rule.

If not, why is it imposed at all?

I’m not doubting you by the way. I’m genuinely curious.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:42:37

Urmstongran

Well my Scottish stepfather will be voting ‘no’ then in any Indy2 referendum.

Actually though, I’m not sure that I agree with these new proposals. Maybe (cynically) it’s because Brexit is done now?

The Scottish thing is interesting - I just don't see how it could be done (at least not without an enormous amount of work).

In the last independence referendum the rule was clear - if you lived in Scotland you had a vote, irrespective of your nationality, if you lived outside you didn't.

If you are to allow 'expat' Scots to vote you need to define who they are and then arrange for them to provide proof that they have the right to vote.

The definition part will be easy as, I assume - like the last time, the Scottish government will produce a white paper which defines who will be entitled to Scottish nationality but then registering to vote on the basis of this definition could be a very lengthy procedure.

sodapop Fri 28-May-21 09:41:59

A lot of us still pay UK taxes Urmstongran and worked all our lives in UK. There is often uneccsarily harsh criticism on here of people who opted to have a change of lifestyle and move to another country.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:41:53

It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.

Eh?
Sorry to be dim Petera but I thought the tax situation was the main crux of the 180 days +. 1 guidelines? Whichever you choose stay in the most gets your taxes?
🤔

lemongrove Fri 28-May-21 09:40:31

Ellianne

I sort of get it, they are still British and affected to an extent by what goes on back here.
Yes, it will please a fair few expats but there's always the exchange rate to complain about instead, and that affects them far more and can't be changed.

Yes, I sort of get it too, because in any case they may choose to move back to the UK at any time.Do they have voting rights in
France, or Spain ow wherever as well though?
If it was decided to apply this rule to Scottish ex pats, then I would have thought it would boost the Yes vote and not the NO.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:36:09

vampirequeen

That's disgraceful. Why should people who no longer live here have the right to help decide who governs us?

It's actually a recent thing, Tony Blair introduced the 15-year limit in 2000. But whether or not you agree with it you also have to think of the complementary issue - should anyone living in the UK therefore have the right to vote?

It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:32:27

Yes, if their adult children live in the UK they get to vote anyway on their futures here in the UK. Extra votes by family members living abroad seems unfair. Almost a ‘gerrymandering’ concept.

Which is, I suspect what this is about.
Keeping Scotland in the UK.