Brexit view from the UK from a reader


It is always encouraging to know that our readers still check up on us even when they are back in the UK and we just received another comment from Barry who lives in Hertfordshire which follows.

“We live in the UK but have an apartment in Orihuela Costa. The upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU is causing us real concern as, in the event of a “Brexit”, our situation is totally unclear. We can imagine that the situation is even more worrying for anyone who has actually retired to Spain.

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Until now, we have always had the option, and the right, to retire to Spain, as so many of your readers already have. After Brexit, will we have to get a visa to enter Spain? It seems that if the UK leaves the EU in order to “take back control of its borders”, then the UK may well introduce visas for EU citizens, and that would result in “tit-for-tat”. (Remember when there was visa-free travel to Australia?) 

That seems to be how international diplomacy works. This would perhaps mean that we could only visit our apartment for up to 90 days at a time. Retirement in Spain may be out of the question.

I seem to recall that not so long ago, the EU required the Spanish government to treat ex-pat property owners the same way as Spanish citizens from a tax point of view. They found that non-Spanish residents and owners were being unfairly treated. Following Brexit, who knows what the tax situation will be?

Our EHIC cards would be withdrawn and so our travel insurance will go up.  I’m sure it would be much worse for anyone who is living in Spain, though. I have worked for international and global companies and I firmly believe that Brexit will be bad for the British economy, resulting in a drop in the value of the pound. 

In fact, it is already happening. When we visited last October, we had almost €1.40 to the pound. Now it’s about €1.20, so the cost of everything in Spain is now 17% more expensive for us. (People say that the drop in the pound is good for our exports, but that advantage disappears when we start having import duties applied to our products, so it’s a lose-lose situation.) 

I wonder what the effect on the payment of British pensions in Spain would be? I have no knowledge in this area but I can imagine that it must be very worrying for anyone who has retired to Spain. Perhaps some people will sell up and return to the UK? That could result in the value of retirement property in Spain going down and anyone who has built a business servicing the British community in Spain would see a reduced customer base.

From here in the UK, it currently looks like the referendum could go either way right now, maybe even leaning towards leaving. I would therefore urge anyone who is living in Spain and is eligible to ensure that they are registered to vote and that they use that vote for us to stay in the EU.” 


  1. This person states the rate of exchange has dropped from £1.40 to £1.20 since October of last year because of the effects of Brexit making it 17% more expensive for them…. right, I might add that around 2 years ago £1 = 1 EURO and that when when Spain entered the EURO it was 1.5 Euros to the pound!

    So we have this person who is saying he hasn’t a clue what Brexit means so they will vote to stay in! I really do hope the average citizen has a little bit more of an idea than this person appears to 😉

    Do people actually make major decisions in their lives this way?

  2. This person is just making assumptions on what they think will happen. Some of it misguided assumptions. This is just one of many peoples thinking as when the day comes we will all vote according to our views and feelings govenng our own individual situations.

  3. I totally agree with the two previous comments,Mykie & Mike. I have lived here in Spain for 13 years and I think all this scare mongering doesn’t help, it just brings panick to people.You have to listen to the “experts”to make a judgement and even they can’t agree, so what chance has the layman got.It’s all down to the individual to make their own assessment and what they hope to happen.Now if I lived in England, there would only be one choice “OUT” and Farage for P.M.

  4. Given the importance of the British economy and population in the EU, it is likely that a deal will be negotiated similar to that with Norway and Switzerland allowing the free movement of people and favourable trading links

  5. I don’t believe much will change for British people living in Spain. The Brits are vital for the economy of Spain and in particular the Costa Del Sol etc.
    If they all left Spain would be in dire straights financially, and the country would be bankrupt with hundreds of thousands unemployed
    Spain will not let this happen and we can be sure that arrangements will be made so we can stay.

  6. The person makes valid points.

    Scaremongering Sid ? That´s what they said in the Scottish referendum about various things and what might happen if Scotland gained independence. Then the oil price collapsed ! Scotland would have had a massive hole in its finances if it had gone ahead. A major bullet dodged.

    Mike – I hope you don´t make major decisions based on your memory. 2 years ago the pound was just over 1.20 not 1.00 ! The lowest it´s been in recent years is around 1.15 in 2013. I suggest you check your facts before voting.

  7. Our rulers already give of UK citizens the worst deal in comparison to almost all other EU countris. The UK’s very rich are excluded from the bad deal, as it only applies to those beneath them. If we leave the EU then it will give our rulers even more power to screw us the majority even more.

  8. Why do Brits love to panic!
    Brexit will make very little difference to us ExPats. I’ve been here 42 years. Things were great then and they will be in the future. Spain and the UK have too much to lose in making barriers after Brexit. Calm down everybody!

  9. OK so I got the year wrong, it was just over 5 years ago you would have got 1€ to £1 but it doesn’t change the point! You would have got less 6 years ago.

    The exchange rate nor migration actually influence my feeling on the Brexit Alan, my biggest issue is being attached to a union that is corrupt, dysfunctional and inept. I find it totally frightening that these clowns are what guides my countries direction and decides rulings that cover it. I also find it frightening that there are people who will vote to stay with this farcical mess just for the sake of themselves!

  10. We did not need Visas before the EU, just a valid passport. The UK trades with the US, Canada, Australia and China, none of whom are in the EU. And so on and on and on. The reasons people are giving for staying are contrived and silly. There may be good ones, but we haven’t heard them yet.

  11. Oh dear Mike. 5 years ago it was about 1.13. Only time it has approached parity was at the height of the crisis in 2008 – and that was brief.

    Slinging inaccuracies and hyperbole around does your case no good at all. The essence of democracy is that people will vote with their own interests in mind – that´s how it works. Any other view is simply naive.

  12. Having traveled to and lived in Spain on and off for 40 years, my opinion is : that on balance, it was better before the EU. And most UK ex pats supply money into the Spanish economy unlike all the new immigrants.
    British tourism is also a major part of their economy and growing. Ukip and out is the way forward,
    To finish I would suggest the EU meetings should be televised. To expose all the fraud..

  13. Whilst your 40 year experience does encompass much of the incremental changes that arose as a result of increased integration it does not take you back to prior to UK entry to the “Common Market” and must make it difficult draw a realistic comparison of before and after. Furthermore any “before” may not be comparable to a post-Brexit situation which is, however you feel, clearly a step into the unknown (whether for good or bad!).

  14. I have had a property on the Costa Blanca since 2000 and last summer had to renew a fridge freezer which had seen better days. I returned to the shop I first used all those years ago and they actually remembered my wife and I. After our formalities I asked how the recent years had been for their business and her reply was and I quote ” we would not have survived without the English here in Spain, they were the only ones with any money. Trust me, Spain needs the Brits as much as we need them. Exit and nothing will change. Dosh for sun, seems fair exchange to me.

  15. People keep talking about a “step into the unknown” on a Brexit, although in reality it is a step into the unknown the outcome can be fairy much worked out “give or take a little” through what politicians should be able to negotiate. Given the situation of the UK in areas such as what we purchase from other EU countries would make the “step into the unknown” not such a worry! Now lets say “for sake of argument” it was a “total step into the unknown” as those who want to scare would make us like to believe, then what I can say is that I would prefer that “step into the unknown” than to be taken where I know the EU is going. More corruption, more dysfunction, more expensive, more bureaucracy, more interference, more lunacy, more costs, more indecisiveness, more civil rights for criminals, less sovereignty, less common sense, less ease in dealing with civil rights for law abiding citizens and finally at some stage we will become part of the country known as the European Union.

    I might also add that because of the welfare system in the UK we will be bankrupt before too long if it continues without migrants never mind with more, UK is already having major issues coping with the economy because of our welfare system. There is also the question of housing, schooling, HNS and policing that are already stretched to their limits, allowing huge numbers to enter the UK freely adds to all those issues. There is no doubt to me that Brexit is the only sensible way to go!

  16. Well said Mike! The number one thing we need to do is put a stop to all these immigrants coming in, but that will not happen so long as we are in the EU.
    They are even preventing us from deporting convicted immigrant criminals – Look at how long it took us to get rid of Abu Qatada and Abu Hamsa – ten bloody years!
    There are many more we need to get rid of.
    The EU has done nothing so far as our economy is concerned, and all these immigrants and lazy people have dragged our benefit services down to a level where it is almost unsustainable. The NHS is also under intolerable strain.
    We need to get out now without any doubt. Those who live in Spain will not suffer if we do, because the Brits are essential to the Spanish economy and Spain will make whatever arrangements that are needed to keep us here.

  17. Alan, listen I am not asking anyone to believe me as all they have to do is look it up with Google and I can tell you as many other expats will that live here there was a period when you would have got 1€ to £1 or less and it wasn’t just for a week or two! I am not wasting my time more on this with someone who doesn’t seem to research this. You obviously don’t know much about having to exchange pounds to euros over the last several years but many of us living in Spain do so don’t try to tell us it was different than it was! The rate fell from 1.28 in Oct 2008 to 1.02 in Dec 2008, that was around its lowest and you would have got less than 1 € to the GBP on that rate so it is you who is doing the slinging of inaccuracies and who is naive, just look it up if you don’t know!

  18. You couldn´t make this up. Oh, wait a minute Mike you definitely did ! It was ME who Googled to prove YOUR gross inaccuracies first about 2 years ago, then 5 years ago. As I reported, almost parity in Dec 2008 – briefly. The average for the month of January 2009 was 1.09.

  19. Some complacency on here about the UK´s strength in any post Brexit negotiations. Just pointing out that it will have to obtain unanimous agreement from 27 nations about the terms of the exit. That should be easy.

    Also about how much Spain needs the UK ex-pats down here. Decisions are taken in Madrid, not Andalucia. You only need to look at the Gibraltar situation to see that.

  20. What you are saying is stupid Alan, the only thing I said that was a mistake was the 2 years ago when it was 5, you in fact actually agree that the rates where a lot lower!. Anyway, this doesn’t change the point that was being made, rates change and they have actually been a lot lower in the past and that was not because of Brexit. I suggest if you have something to say that is actually beneficial to the article then great but please stop wasting space and time with your petty nonsense!

  21. Em, 2008 was 8 years ago. One of the big dangers in this kind of referendum is people who promulgate totally inaccurate information, thus misleading others. I have already commented separately about other matters.

  22. What are you talking about? “One of the dangers of this kind of referendum”! What you are suggesting is a danger in any referendum!

    It doesn’t matter how many years ago it was, thats not the point of why it was mentioned “as I have said before”! It is you that seems to think the year is important, the issue was the exchange rate was if you exchanged a pound you would have got a euro, a lot weaker than it is now with Brexit looming!

    And yes you are right about people who publish totally inaccurate information, thus misleading others! I have had to listen to and read inaccurate information from David Cameron, Nicola Sturgen, Tony Blair, Ed Milliband, Donald Tusk, Obama, French politicians and the rest of the current bunch of scaremongering clowns trying to tell people what “might” happen it the UK left the EU, none of it will actually happen as they scare people into thinking it will!
    Even if most of what these ppl are trying to scare people with where true there is not much there to scare me more than remaining in the EU “and from what I read and hear many others”! If that doesn’t scare anyone then I can only suggest they see a Dr. 😉

  23. Many of the comments are made by people who are like puppets with their strings being pulled by the persuasive expert Puppeteers at UKIP. It’s amazing how they can still control the beliefs and actions of these people with such long strings. When I talk to such, I find that they have never delved into who the people are behind that political party. If they did, they’d soon find that they are of the ilk who were highly unlikely to be seeking to improve the lives of the majority of ordinary people. Nationalism has always been used to manipulate the masses in this way – for evil ends.

  24. UKIP! I have read all the comments here and don’t see UKIP mentioned once, no… not once so why have you made a comment that would appear to involve them as the instigators of people not wanting to remain? There are many people in business and politics that think the UK would be better leaving the EU also and they have nothing to do with UKIP!

    In all honesty, most of the people who I have listened to wanting to remain in the EU are like puppets used by the Puppeteers at Brussels so what you say doesn’t make sense!

    If you are trying to tell people that remaining in the EU will improve the lives of the British people in general more than leaving the EU would then I am sorry but I think you are talking nonsense! The EU gang is expensive, it can’t balance books, is corrupt, undemocratic and bully or blackmail to get their way… you wouldn’t join or let your children join a gang that runs like that would you… but you would remain in the EU!

    BTW, if you think I myself am listening to or using Nationalism to have my beliefs then thats fine by me 😉

  25. Oh gosh your right, Sid mentioned Farage! Thats one poster who made one post and yep, he mentioned Farage once… but of course “thats many of the comments” to a EU remain person! lol

    Is it any wonder those that want to remain are not looked at with not having much integrity… including the PM. lol

    Keep up the hard work Alan 😉


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