My problems with the UK

In 2017 I finally made the big decision to leave the UK...hopefully permanently. It was something I'd always planned on doing but I never imagined that I would do it so young and without a solid plan and good career behind me. There were many reasons that led me to this decision and the more people that I've spoken to about it the better I feel about leaving. Since I moved to Iceland many people here have asked why I'd want to leave England, so here are the reasons why.

Wages and the cost of living
Wages generally do not meet the cost of living. With the different wage brackets based on age it is unlikely for young people to earn living wage until they reach 25 years old. As someone who left home at 20 I found it very difficult to make ends meet on a low salary. Rent in big cities are not cheap and jobs are harder to find in small towns.
My basic salary covered the cost of my rent and my train pass to get to work...and nothing else. I worked a lot of overtime (working around 65 hours a week in total) to be able to afford food and other things. This meant there was little time for a social life as I was constantly exhausted from work. I doubt I would ever have owned my own home if I decided to stay in England.
Working less hours as a housekeeper in Iceland means that I take home double the money (after high taxes!) than what I did working 65 hours a week as a goldsmith in the UK.

The class system and poverty
How do we still have an outdated class system in the UK? It is crazy and I can't say I really noticed it much as a child but now that I'm older I definitely do! Sometimes it can really feel like we drew the short straw of not being born into higher class families where we would have a higher chance of succeeding in life with the privilege of a private education.
Poverty is on the rise with over 20% of the population considered to be living in poverty and a rising number of children and pensioners now living in poverty. With living costs rapidly rising and wages not being raised to meet them, this problem is set to get worse.

Personally I felt that I received a pretty poor education in school. I was made to memorise facts for exams without fully understanding the subjects. Real life skills were never taught. I would've liked to receive a financial education, start learning a foreign language at a much younger age, learn home economics. But instead I was made to memorise some useless facts (most of which have since been forgotten...I've never needed to use them) and sit exams. I think we are made to choose the subjects we would like to continue with far too young and are expected to know what we want to do in life at a young age. Universities are too expensive and lacking in quality education and support for students, education should be free or very cheap all the way until the end in my opinion. A lot of secondary schools have now become academies, funded by local businesses. School uniforms are an outdated concept and are far too expensive for low income families.

This was essentially the tipping point that made my decision clear. I wanted to keep my free movement rights and planned to live abroad in Europe when I had my life together. Unfortunately that wasn't to be. When Scotland had a referendum for their independence they allowed 16 and 17 year olds to vote for their future too. I don't understand why the same option wasn't given for this (arguably even more important) referendum. I think the public were very poorly informed about the facts in this vote and the government took advantage of that.

Conservative Government
I don't know if any good has ever come from the Tory party and I don't understand how they manage to stay in power. With cuts to education, social care and the NHS they are slowly making life even harder for the working class. It seems that under this government the poor get poorer and the rich get richer!

Crime rates
I decided many years ago that I would never allow myself to raise a family in Birmingham City, and probably not in the UK as it isn't safe enough anymore. Knife offences, acid attacks, sexual violence and domestic violence have all been on the rise over the last few years and with cuts to the police and social support I doubt the figures will be dropping anytime soon. 2017 saw the highest increase in crime rate in a decade, with a high rise in violent crime and murders this year.

So those are my main reasons for leaving the UK. I'm so glad that I left and I feel that my quality of life has improved tremedously since I made the move to Iceland. For anyone thinking about making the move abroad I say just go for it, there's really nothing to lose at this point!

Loppy x

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