Exodus of the laptop class has exposed the bankruptcy of Britain's … – The Telegraph

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It's no surprise the UK’s skilled workers are taking a one-way trip to generous tax breaks
A hot desking space in Barcelona with a free supply of tapas. A beach bar overlooking the Atlantic coast of Portugal. A terrace on one of the Greek islands. 
As we get further through the summer months, many will be wishing that the holiday season could last a little longer. 
For some, perhaps it can. The number of “digital nomad” visas on offer is growing all the time, with Canada joining the likes of Spain, Portugal and Greece in the last month alone. 
These give individuals the legal right to work remotely while residing away from their country of permanent residence.
But digital nomads are not just making a lifestyle choice: they are making an economic and political one as well. 
Given that most of the visas come with generous tax breaks, it may well be the only way that a whole generation of freelancers and entrepreneurs can opt out of the moribund big state-high tax models that countries such as Britain are set on – and they may be the only people who can finally force governments to face up to the bankruptcy of that model. 
In the last month, the list of places where you can unpack your laptop and get on with your work has grown longer and longer. 
Canadian visa laws are already favourable to nomads; even on a visitor visa they can work for up to six months while in the country. But a new “digital nomad” programme ramps this up – as part of its massive drive to attract skilled workers.
India’s Goa region is seeking a special visa scheme for remote workers, with easier immigration rules and plenty of workspaces along its beach fronts. 
It joins similar schemes in countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Croatia. In total, over 50 countries offer some form of special visa to anyone who wants to work remotely. 
Indeed, if the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and his Treasury officials were more imaginative, perhaps they would have already launched one for the UK. 
True, it is important not to evangelise working remotely. 
There is a growing body of academic research to show that the shift to working from home has damaged productivity, innovation and morale. 
We should not be making it a legal right that people can “work from anywhere”, as some on the Left have argued, and certainly not in the public sector where output remains 5.7pc lower than it was before the pandemic. 
It is better suited towards self-employment, entrepreneurship, and perhaps for a small range of contract workers. Even so, that is a growing share of the working population. 
But while the digital nomad lifestyle might not be for everyone, those who may choose to work from a sunbed in Marbella can perform an important service for the rest of us. 
They can finally make it clear how completely bankrupt, both morally and financially, our big state/high tax model has become. 
The vast majority of nomad visas don’t just enable remote working. They also charge less tax.
In Spain for example, income tax is levied at just 15pc (although only for non-EU citizens, which ironically now includes the British – a useful benefit of Brexit). 
In Greece, nomads will be taxed at half the standard rate for up to seven years. 
In Portugal, they will only pay tax on their Portuguese income, which for British, American or French freelancers is probably going to be very little. 
The details vary country by country. But the overall outcome is almost always the same: lower taxes.
By contrast, countries such as the UK are crushing employees with an ever-rising tax burden
In this country, 40pc is slowly becoming the standard rate for anyone on a middling income; with thresholds frozen for the next few years, it could soon be 45pc. 
In addition, there are tapered child benefits, personal allowances, and punitive interest rates on student loans, which means that many workers are facing marginal rates of 60pc or more once they start to progress in their careers. 
The same is true of France, Germany and many other developed countries. 
Lockdown, welfare payments, bills for unrealistic net zero targets which many citizens were assured would boost growth, the interest on the debt accumulated over the last decade: all are pushing taxes up levels not seen since the immediate aftermath of World War II. 
Governments are trapped in a doom loop of pitiful growth and high taxes, and there is neither the political will nor inclination to break free from it.
But the digital nomads can at least escape. The increasing number of visas on offer are the exit option. Skilled workers can simply up and leave. 
The bond markets will never discipline over-taxing governments. We saw that during the short-lived Liz Truss administration. That experiment taught us that bond markets are more focused on whether interest bills can be paid than macroeconomic policy.
Voters may not hold rapacious governments to account either; not if they are benefitting from triple-locked pensions or work in parts of the public sector. 
Yet for better or worse, lockdown made us more mobile – and members of the laptop class are capitalising on this. It’s not for everyone, but it should be a reminder to our tax-and-spend political elites that if the going gets too tough, the tough may get going – to the beach. 


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