Brightest and best leaving UK in 'talent drain', MP warns

Jan 23, 2013

Exodus of talented young graduates could cause serious economic damage, says senior Tory

IF YOU thought Brits heading abroad in search of a better life were mainly over-60s looking to spend their retirement in sunnier climates, think again.

Figures revealed yesterday by Conservative MP Nick de Bois show the majority of British emigrants are young people, forming a "talent drain" with the potential to seriously damage the UK's economy.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, De Bois said figures he obtained from the Office for National Statistics show 3,599,000 left the UK in the ten years to 2011, with the typical age of emigrants 25-44. Only 125,000 were of retirement age.

Many of those leaving the UK are going on to work for engineering, pharmaceutical and creative companies abroad, research shows.

"Our most economically active are leaving to apply their talents elsewhere", De Bois said. "Questions have to be asked as to why, even in a truly global economy where labour markets are relatively open, we here in the UK cannot hold onto our own home-grown, home-educated talent."

According to Bois, who is secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, politicians need to focus on the "enormous damage" done by such emigration - as well as on cutting immigration.

He said the country should value its successful graduates, possibly by introducing lower tax rates to compete with other countries.

Figures released in November showed almost ten per cent of British graduates from the country's top universities – including Oxford, Cambridge and Durham - were choosing to work away from the UK.

Britain has 4.7m million expats living abroad, with an estimate of 986 people leaving the country every day over the last 10 years, the Daily Mail says.

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To which countries are they going?

Do they return?