Stephen Swinford, Telegraph (London), August 22, 2013
More than 400 British citizens are leaving the country every day in a drain on talent that is leading to the “disappearance” of skilled middle-class professionals, a senior Conservative MP has warned.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of British citizens who have moved abroad has risen by a fifth under the Coalition, reaching 154,000 last year.
Separate figures, published by the OECD, show that almost 1.3 million Britons with university-level education are living abroad, more than any other developed economy.
Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, says Britain has a “sales job to do” to convince talented professionals not to leave the country.
He said: “We live in a very mobile, global market people can look around and they can judge where they want to go. My concern is that people are putting their own interests first and looking to beyond the European Union.
“We have to convince those people, who we have invested so much in, to make Britain their first choice. We have to continue to drive lower taxes, we have to keep driving the change and reform in our public services.”
According to Mr de Bois, many of those who are leaving Britain are going to work for foreign-based aerospace, engineering and creative companies based in “growth economies” such as Hong Kong and countries in the Middle East.
The official figures show that under the Coalition more than 100,000 additional British citizens opted to move abroad last year.The number of British emigrants is now almost equivalent to the number of foreigners choosing to leave the country.
According to the OECD, a total of 1.28million highly-skilled British citizens are now living abroad, significantly more than any other developed economy.
There are 865,000 highly-skilled German citizens living abroad, and almost 400,000 highly skilled US citizens who have chosen to emigrate.
Mr de Bois said: “It is inevitable that the people we’re talking about are going to prefer to go where the growth is greatest.
“We have got to persuade these people that they should stay here. We are losing the professional, skilled class.”
Mr de Bois said that lower taxes and a “culture change” could help persuade highly-mobile and well-educated workers to stay in this country.
He said: “Why are we losing so many people from the pharmaceutical, aerospace and creative companies? It is because they feel they can get a higher quality of life, a better education for their children and a lower cost of living elsewhere.
“The government has identified this problem and is turning the economy around. We have now got to do a better sales job to encourage people to stay.”
The figures from the Office for National Statistics come amid growing concern that British graduates from the best universities are choosing to work abroad.
Almost one-in-10 British graduates from institutions such as Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford who found jobs in 2011 were working overseas. The rate jumped to 12 per cent among British students from St Andrews.