Brit expats leave Spain amid Brexit fears, exchange rate woes

Thousand of British expats have left Spain amid fears over Brexit and the pound’s slump against the euro, it has emerged. 

About 5,000 Britons are believed to have been living in the resort of Benidorm before the 2007 financial crash – but by last year that number had fallen to 2,825.

Over the same period, almost 5,000 moved away from the Balearic islands – Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca. 

By 2017, 14,981 expats remained on the islands – down from  19,803 in 2007,..

Some fear Brexit will have a negative impact on their lives abroad while others say life on the continent has become too expensive.

Yesterday, Sterling fell to its lowest against the euro in nearly a year. It came after British Prime Minister Theresa May played down the consequences of Britain leaving the EU next year without securing a deal with the bloc

It said figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute showed the number of residents from 15 EU-countries in Spain had fallen by a quarter but the number of British expats had fallen 40 per cent.  

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of Britons leaving Spain outnumbered those who arrived. In the previous four years, 40,454 more Britons arrived in Spain than left.

While the drop in expats was put down partly to a shake up in municipal enrollment regulations in Spain, some people told the newspaper that Britons where struggling to cope with the devaluation of the pound.

Michelle Ball, who has a shop in La Xara, Alicante having arriving in Valencia as a 14-year-old, said: ‘Many are returning because life has become incredibly expensive.

‘My mother has lost €160 a month in her pension since the Brexit referendum because of the devaluation of the pound. Now her pension is €690. And since the Spanish government made changes a few years back she also has to pay a portion for her medicines. It’s not a lot but it doesn’t help either.’