Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The UK is going down the pan

Are the residents of the UK feeling the financial pinch? I often watch the UK news and hear many stories about the global credit crunch, but am not too sure if it is global, or just the UK and US that are suffering the most.

As Britain has chosen to keep the pound sterling rather than move to the Euro, many costs are hidden from the British public. Not only are food and fuel prices increasing in the UK, but the currency is also suffering against the Euro. About a year ago one pound would have bought one euro and 49 cents, today it will buy one euro and 25 cents. So, when measured in the European currency, UK house prices have actually fallen about 15%.

This free-fall in the value of the pound sterling makes everything that is imported into the UK much more expensive. It also causes minor problems for those of us living in France who depend on a UK pension. In January 2007 my RAF pension was just over 700 euros per month, this month it was 581 euros. That cannot be blamed on just the falling pound, but also on the UK governments decision to tax the poor. I now pay 20% tax on my pension rather than 10% - thank you Gordon Brown.

I don't mind too much, but the thing that I don't like is the fact that I have to pay UK tax on my pension instead of French tax. I have no choice. If I were to visit the UK, I am not entitled to use the NHS despite being a tax payer and having spent most of my life serving Queen and country.

I have been asked many times whether I would ever return to the UK to live. The answer has to be a definite NO. France is the country that I have chosen to live in and here I will stay. I have been back a couple of times, but do not see the need to return again. I still have siblings living in the UK and communicate via email and phone on a regular basis, but don't feel the need to visit.


At 2:25 pm, Blogger Gerry and Sarah said...

Hello Madman,

It's true. The strength of the euro against sterling is the talk of the town. You are seeing it in your pension payuments. I work for an estate agency n the Dordogne. We're really feeling the pinch. The bad news is that according to a reputable analyst we deal with in the UK sterling will stay on the slippery slope for the foreseeable. As long as the UK focus on interest rates and not inflation we can expect the euro to be stronger. France, on the other hand are focussed on bringing inflation to below the 2% it's at now in the next year. This will only contribute to the strength of the euro as the second largest economy in Europe. I take your point about the cost of living in the UK but I don't think blame can be squarely put on Brown. The cost of living has rocketed globally. You'll recall the uproar in France recently over the price increase of the beloved baguete. But that is as a result of wheat prices increasing and everyon'es affected. It doesn't help that China and India substantially increase their demand for food and energy as they become more industrial economies.

But enough of that. Aren't the empty roads in this country a biker's paradise.



At 3:09 pm, Blogger François said...

Yeah, longing for empty riding roads too..... done a few rides in Holland again and the country is just filled top the cranny.

Hey, I thought you could choose to pay French taxes instead of UK ? Or is that because you main income is still from the UK?

I was hoping to evade the bloody Dutch theft of 52% of every Euro I make...... France is only 40-something I think....

But.. still no sale of our house, so no further progress in moving yet :-(

Is Wim a Dutch guy ??

Private airfield eh? Nice !!


At 6:25 pm, Blogger fenwoman said...

I am one of madman's siblings (the nicest one) and I envy him living in France and would love to do the same. Luckily for France, it isn't possible. Living in England is hard, managing on a fixed income is hard. I have to calculate the cost of every journey in my car and am currently ripping out the oil fired heating system to replace it with a 50 year old wood fired Rayburn cooker. So I'm actually going backward in time to an era where, to heat your home, meant lots of hard work cutting wood and cleaning out the cooker and freezing cold bedrooms in winter, because I simply cannot afford to heat my home. I am registered disabled and suffer a lot of pain. Since I cannot afford to fill the heating oil tank, if I don't install the old Rayburn, not only will I be in daily constant pain, I will be suffering frostbite and hypothermia too. Unless I use my food money to heat the house and live on baked beans and toast all year.UK in the 21st century eh??

At 10:52 pm, Blogger madman said...

Pam, You are my only sibling! The other two fat greedy cows are disowned.

At 1:11 pm, Blogger Riggers said...

Now, steady on, old chap: you're a bit harsh on Blighty, and our esteemed PM, don't you think? He's a man of vision, y'know, (he told us). He's obviously got an agenda so clever, it escapes we mere mortals, I mean:

i. He sold our gold reserves at a fools price, (less than a quarter of the current price).

ii. He's plundered the pension funds to the tune of £5Bn PER YEAR since 1997, blighting thousands of people's retirement and totally destroying a once laudible pensions market.

iii. He's squandered an obscene amount of money on a totally unrestructured National Health Service, to no visible benefit. He spent SO MUCH, that now the bad financial times are here, we have nothing left to ease the pain, unlike the Americans, who can make tax cuts.

iv. He railroaded the Lisbon Treaty through, wholly disregarding the UK population, to whom his party had made a solemn inclusive promise.

v. As PM, he's now directing his puppet chancellor ('chancer'?) to borrow yet more to fund his grand Stalinist visions.

Just a minute, I think you've convinced me: perhaps, on reflection, you weren't harsh enough???

At 1:46 pm, Blogger madman said...

You can vote, Phil, but use your feet as it is the only way that you can win!


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