Buying property abroad in Brexit times can be stressful, especially when Boris Johnson, the new PM, has announced that the government will be setting aside an extra £2.1bn for preparations in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
Nonetheless, many Brits continue to move to France, despite being considered a costly decision and one of the most expensive countries in the region. But, with its lifestyle, amazing food and cheap wine, and the fact that housing can be quite affordable in certain regions, make France one of the most attractive places to call a second home.
The extra no-deal Brexit funds will be used for stockpiling medicines, adding 500 more border officials and paying for a public awareness campaign about disruption. Johnson’s government aims to convince the European Union that the UK can handle a no-deal Brexit, and it will be able to do so, in three months, on 31 October. Johnson has clarified that he prefers to reach a deal with the EU.
Sajid Javid, the new chancellor, will provide a cash boost of £1.1bn with an extra £1bn available if needed, which means that this year’s spending will increase to £6.3bn.
Labour has criticised the spending which is an “appalling waste of tax-payers’ cash, all for the sake of Boris Johnson’s drive towards a totally avoidable no deal.” John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: “This government could have ruled out no deal, and spent these billions on our schools, hospitals, and people. Labour is a party for the whole of the UK, so we’ll do all we can to block a no-deal, crash-out Brexit, and we’ll deliver a transformative economic policy that delivers for the many, not the few.”
Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons public accounts committee said: “Just because Boris Johnson is making it sound like he’s fighting a war, with seven-days-a-week meetings in Whitehall, that is not licence to spend taxpayers’ money like water, throwing good money after bad. It is of course responsible for a government to be prepared for an emergency. But this is an emergency of the government’s own making – boring though it may be that taxpayers’ money could be spent on essential public services. There isn’t much headroom. There is a bit more than there was but not much. And I don’t think his spending pledges add up.”
The business group the CBI warned that neither the UK nor the EU are prepared for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, as certain “aspects cannot be mitigated.” The Institute for Goverment on Monday said that there was “no such thing as a managed no deal” and that a “clean break” from the EU is just impossible.
In the meantime, conservative MPs are considering how they can stop a no-deal Brexit if Johnson decides to leave without a deal. Many of us are also considering escaping to France, as Brexit chaos appears unresolved and the situation in the UK is becoming more complicated day by day.
While data comparison from Eurostat shows that France “is one of the more expensive places in the EU, with most categories being above the EU average,” British expats still consider the place as an ideal destination for certain reasons. While Paris together with Singapore and Hong Kong are “the world’s most expensive cities,” according to The Economist, there are other places and equally attractive options in other parts of France.
Truth be told, cars can also be expensive, while bringing one with you from the UK and registering it after six months can be a complicated and expensive process. According to The Local, white goods, electronics, DIY equipment and building materials for house renovations, were listed among Brits’ most expensive items.
However, the cheap price of wine in France and its unparalleled quality is incredibly alluring. Especially, if you decide to live in the countryside, restaurants offer cheap meals but high quality. According to a British expat quoted in The Local: “All the villages within a 40km radius of me have small restaurants where I can get a superb lunch for €13-14 with ‘buffet à volonte', main course, cheese, dessert, coffee and red wine included. And the quality is way above any café I would find in the UK.” Drinking and eating local, as well as going to the cinema are some of the amazing and cheap things you can do in France.
Most importantly, the affordable properties you can find is an important incentive. According to The Local, “almost all readers named house prices as one of the country's big benefits.” Nigel Day in Charente said: “The price of houses, whether renting or buying (except in big cities and the Mediterranean strip) is still a bargain, although nothing like it was 15 years ago.” With cheaper "annual housing taxes,” Brits still consider France an ideal home.
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