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Dire economy keeps expats from returning

A growing number of expats are cancelling plans to return to the UK, instead preferring life overseas.

Around 15 per cent have changed their minds about coming back in the past year, a survey by Lloyds TSB International found, and as many as 69 per cent of these expats now plan to stay overseas indefinitely, a 13 per cent rise on the number last year.

A better quality of life, healthier finances, lower cost of living and safer neighbourhoods were among the reasons cited for Britons staying away. As many as 74 per cent reckoned they had a better life overseas, with just 7 per cent saying things would be better in the UK.

Britain's faltering economy seemed to be a significant factor in people not returning to Britain, with 52 per cent saying their cost of living was lower abroad, and only 24 per cent saying it was now more expensive.

Lloyds TSB International's expatriate banking managing director, Tony Wilcox, said: "From economic woes to August's riots, the UK has faced a catalogue of bad news in recent months. Coupled with expats' view that the quality of life is higher and they are financially better off abroad, it's not surprising that so many have cancelled their plans to return tothe UK."

Around 5.6 million Britons now live abroad permanently, with another half a million do so for part of the year.