News & Insights

Can expats vote in May’s surprise general election?

In October, as a response to the upset, the government announced – in what’s known as the ‘Votes for Life Bill’ – that it would be scrapping the 15-year time limit. Thus, allowing all expats, regardless of how long they’ve not been registered in a British constituency, the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The government promised that all expats would be eligible to vote in time for the 2020 election.

However, the upcoming surprise election was not foreseen. Now, a British embassy official in Madrid has confirmed that, while the government remains “committed to changing the law to enfranchise all British ex-pats”, there is not enough time to pass the Votes for Life Bill before the snap election.

Because the outcome of the election is likely to be vitally important in respect of how Brexit negotiations will be carried out, and because the government specifically promised expats they would have their say in the next election, many feel the timing is unfair.

Unhappy with the news that she and others like her will be disenfranchised, Chris Madsen, an expat living in France, started a petition demanding that long-term expats be given the “fundamental” right to vote. Madsen said the 15-year rule may be OK in matters of local politics, “but in the recent referendum it prevented many of the very people whose lives would be most greatly affected from having a say in their own future”. Madsen believes that the same thing happening again is unacceptable. The petition gained thousands of signatures in just 24 hours.

In the meantime, if you’re an expat who’s lived outside the UK for less than 15 years, then you should check you’re on the electoral register and apply for a proxy or postal vote as soon as possible.

As for the actual election itself, what might it mean for expats? Some are concerned that if the Conservative party wins, it will convince the government to stick to their plans of a hard Brexit, withdrawing Britain from the single market and potentially causing problems for many around Europe. On the other hand, if Labour or the Liberal Democrats (who are very much an anti-Brexit party) gain more seats, then the whole Brexit strategy is likely to be changed (and the decision to leave could even, potentially, be reversed).

Whether the result of the 2017 general election makes things clearer or just further adds to the uncertainty over Brexit, expats can help themselves by having sound financial planning in place so they are well prepared for the future outcomes. Blacktower offers a variety of expat financial services to help you reach the best decisions on managing your money.

Other News

Defined benefit schemes – a ‘ticking time bomb’?

Following the news that no new buyer was interested in BHS and its £571 million pension deficit, a number of our clients with a working history in BHS got in touch with us to find out their position and options with regards to their future pensions. Unfortunately, it was too late as the window had closed. The BHS scheme got into the Pension Protection Fund, a statutory fund in the U.K., intended to protect pensioners if their pension fund becomes insolvent. What this means is that they are now locked in without any possibility of looking at alternatives and transferring out. For deferred members, this means a potential reduction in pension income as the PPF only compensates 90% of the income up to a certain cap.

Read More

Gibraltar National Day celebrations illustrate the Rock’s British pride

Gibraltar FlagThe Rock has recently celebrated a special date: Gibraltar National Day, which happens on September 10 and marks the anniversary of the 1967 sovereignty referendum, when citizens chose whether to remain under British rule or pass over to Spanish sovereignty. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of staying British.

This year, over 3,000 Gibraltarians dressed in red and white, honouring their beloved territory’s flag, and filled Casemates Square for a rally. This was then followed by festivities including fireworks, a helicopter drop of petals, and blasts of red and white smoke.

Read More

Select your country

Please select your country of residence so we can provide you with the most relevant information:

You are currently viewing the Blacktower Financial Management EU website.

You may be looking for the Blacktower United States website.

Blacktower United States > X Stay on this site

Or choose your country.