Why are French people choosing to live in the UK?
In the first ever independent poll of French voters living in the UK, GfK NOP interviewed over 1,000 people after they voted at the second round of the Presidential election in London on 6 May, in a quest to find out what values drive this growing community, and why they have chosen to live in the UK, not France.
Preference between British and French systems
Broadly, French nationals living in London think that the economy and work practices of Britain are better run than in France, but that French society is better organised and more agreeable than British society.
A total of 79% of all respondents had a preference for the British way of running the economy against just 8% who preferred the French system. Similarly, 94% said that professional opportunities were greater in Britain than in France, and 86% that the British spirit of enterprise was preferable. They also favoured British work ethics and corporate culture.
In contrast, 67% believe that the quality of life in France is better than in Britain, with a huge 89% preferring the French health system to the NHS and 81% thinking French social security is better than British. French primary and secondary schools are preferred by an average of 62% of respondents, but the British Universities system is preferred by 43% against 40 % for the French system.
The outstanding point on which Left and Right differ is globalisation, although both sides prefer the British approach to the French. However, only 6% of Sarkozy supporters think that the French position on globalisation is better than the British, while, for Royal supporters, this rises to 30%.
Supporters of both candidates agree that British immigration policy is preferable to the French - 67% of all voters - but in the case of the EU 59% prefer the French policy to the British.
Likelihood of going to live in France
While 28% of the voters say that they would become more likely to return to France if Sarkozy was elected, this figure falls to 14% if Royal were to become President. Nearly half of Sarkozy voters declared they would be more likely to go back to France if their candidate was elected.
Finally, this study shows that France is not divided over the issues as might appear at first glance. The French people interviewed have already 'voted with their feet' by choosing to live in the UK, where they strongly approve of the British economy and the work ethics.
However, they prefer the French social system and quality of life. In other words, they want the best of both worlds, which means they understand that a fair and generous social system can only be provided by an effective economic system.