Be it in Brick Lane or Birmingham, they scrimp and save pounds and shillings and send them 5,000 miles across to India. Through money-transfer operators and in envelopes carefully entrusted with friends flying home, the savings of Indians in the UK reach Delhi and Dispur, Mumbai and Midnapore. A first-of-its-kind survey by the UK’s Department for International Development says Indians are among the top ethnic communities that send money back home.
In the past 12 months, the average remittance by Indian households was £1,001. The average cash sent by Pakistani households was £1,103, followed by £1,050 by Bangladeshi households. But in real terms, Indians top the list as 14 per cent of Indian households send money home compared with just 10 per cent Pakistani households.
Of the 28,000 ethnic-minority households surveyed, more than a third of them send an average of £870 to their families in Asia and Africa. Chinese households averaged only £882, which belies the claim that they send the maximum money home.
The survey found that of the 50-plus developing countries receiving money from the UK, the five largest recipients were Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Jamaica and Ghana. The average income of the senders was £22,000 and 70 per cent of them were in the 25-44 age group.
About 80 per cent senders said the money would make a real difference to the lives of their families back home. Around 31 per cent of them said the money would be used to buy food, 21 per cent said it would help with medical bills and 17 per cent reported the funds would help pay for schooling.