With three landslide election victories under his belt, Tony Blair left Downing Street as the UK's Prime Minister undefeated electorally, in much the same way Margaret Thatcher had done seventeen years earlier.
Taking Tony Blair's place as Prime Minister, and leader of the Labour Party in Britain, is Gordon Brown, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer since the day Labour won office in 1997, and who nearly everyone in British politics assumed would take over as Prime Minister once Tony Blair had left on June 27 this year.
As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown steered to the British economy to her longest period of economic growth in her history, and he left the Treasury with inflation and unemployment at low levels, and a record number of people in Britain in full time employment. A surprise to many who questioned the introduction of the minimum wage to protect low paid workers, and Brown's decision within days of Labour's 1997 election victory to give up some power and hand the setting of interest rates to the Bank of England, ensuring that interest rate rises and falls would depend upon the British economy rather than her politicians.
Having been part of a Cabinet that also gave away power in the form of devolution to Scotland and Wales, Gordon Brown, himself a Scot, had a good record as he entered Downing Street in June as Prime Minister.
And it didn't take him long to prove his credentials as a capable Prime Minister, as he successfully dealt with three crises within weeks, cutting short his holiday to deal with floods in England, foot and mouth in agriculture, and the attempted suicide car bombings on Glasgow Airport. And with his handling of the each crises opinion polls have showed the British people in favour, with one poll giving Brown's Labour Party a ten per cent lead over the Conservative Party led by David Cameron, suggesting perhaps an early British general Election, which - if the polls are accurate - would see a fourth Labour landslide in a row.
But Britain's wealthy have also seen the opinion polls and are increasingly calculating that the Labour Party with Gordon Brown at the helm will win a fourth election victory and a further four to five years in power, with a return to Labour's traditional values of helping the not so well off in society with taxes that will hit the ones who are doing well, and are making enquiries about taking residency in Andorra and Monaco, Europe's two leading tax havens.
'Before Gordon Brown became Prime Minister', comments a UK company who deal with property in both Andorra and Monaco, 'The majority of clients weren't sure about who would win the next election, and some were hedging their bets by applying for residency in advance. In recent weeks the volume of enquiries has increased noticeably, and the opinion has changed to one where it is almost universally acknowledged that Labour will win the next election under Gordon Brown.'
The company goes on to say that they have had record sales in 2007, and that the increase in enquiries could turn to a stampede if an early election is aclled and Labour's manifesto commits to higher spending and increased taxes.
'The general consensus among our clients is that even if the Conservatives were to win and confound the pollsters, they would maintain and possibly increase spending at current rates, and neither Labour or the Conservatives are talking seriously of being a tax cutting party, so the likelihood is that taxes in the UK for the better off will berising in the short and medium term, and they are making plans now.'
For Brits considering taking residency in Andorra applications need to be submitted in Catalan. A notarised copy of the applicants passport, birth certificate and a certificate of good conduct from the home country are submitted at the same time, residency normally takes between three and six months to be approved, so some planning ahead is needed to take full advantage of Andorra's tax haven status. Once residency is granted, residents are supposed to spend six months a year in Andorra, but this isn't policed.
Andorra has very similar fiscal benefits as Monaco, but property prices are around a quarter of Monaco's. Property prices in Andorra have risen by an average of ten per cent a year over the last decade, with the last two years showing particularly impressive gains of 19 and 16 per cent, as more people, particularly from the UK, have moved to Andorra. Surprisingly perhaps for a tax haven, mortgages for a property are as available as many European countries, with rates around the same level. Up to eighty per cent of a property's value is often agreed by the banks in Andorra.
For those Brits and other Europeans with the deepest pockets of all, Andorra's rival Monaco has an image of glamour and sophistication the world over, and is famous for the Grand Prix around the streets of Monte Carlo. Both Monaco and Andorra seem set to gain from the UK's main political parties tax policies.
Real estate, residency and banks information for Andorra can be found at YourAndorra.com