Sunshine state that shelters the rich and famous

Every Monday morning, at the Cote d'Azur airport in Nice, scores of BlackBerry-wielding businessmen await their weekly flight to London. They are possibly the most well-heeled commuters in the world.

Over the years, the numbers on the 8.55am Air France flight from Nice to City Airport in London have steadily grown and many of the new recruits are from Monaco. The principality has long been a playground for the leisured rich. But as flight times have shrunk and tax incentives multiplied, it has also become a home for home for Britain's working wealthy, who divide their time between the sunshine and the City.

It has never been difficult to understand Monaco's appeal. The state imposes no income tax on its residents. As a result, the principality has attracted Formula One drivers, business luminaries such as Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, and film stars such as Sir Roger Moore. Not everyone is famous, but everybody is rich, and usually cashing in on wealth obtained elsewhere. A staggering 25,000 of Monaco's 32,000 population are expatriates. They occupy the world's most densely populated independent nation, sharing a territory of less than two square miles with 40 banks, which deal with 300,000 accounts. Then there are the casinos (in which local Monegasques are forbidden to gamble) and the clubs.

The costs of everyday living are exorbitant, although of course everything's relative. A glass of champagne can cost about €30 (£23). But few care. In fact the only cloud on the recent horizon has been the apparent determination of the EU, with Germany in the vanguard, to crack down on the gilded enclaves in which the continent's super-rich have managed to construct an insular paradise.

At the end of last month, it emerged that Prince Albert of Monaco, alarmed by the determination of the British and German authorities to pursue tax evaders in Liechtenstein, had agreed to open talks with Berlin over tax arrangements in the principality. The British Government has altered the rules that govern those Monaco residents who work part of the year in the UK, counting the days of travel to London and return to Monaco as days worked in Britain.

Ian Bradley, at Visit Monaco, still believes the future looks bright for Monaco. "We know that the lack of taxation is a huge attraction for wealthy commuters that live in Monaco and we'd be kidding ourselves if we said any different. But I don't think that's the only reason. Monaco is a great place to live and bring up a family. It is expensive, but not much more expensive than some parts of London.

"The 90-day rule changes might have a slight effect on the frequency of commuters, but I don't think people will suddenly leave Monaco. The lack of tax isn't the only reason they are here. Look at Liechtenstein. That has a similar tax status, but you don't see people flocking to live there. People come to Monaco because of what it can offer tax-wise and what it can offer lifestyle-wise."

If European governments get their way, that theory may be about to be put to the test.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee