Rescue plan for British expats in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 18 Jan, 2012 @ 23:16
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Rescue plan for British expats in Spain

THE British Foreign Office is discussing ways to rescue expats stranded in Andalucia if Spain’s banking system collapses.

Officials are considering how they would get thousands of British nationals out of trouble in a worse-case scenario of people not being able to access their funds.

The fear is that if Spain’s economy folds, banks may stop users withdrawing cash from their own bank accounts.

The Foreign Office’s plans include sending ships, planes and coaches to evacuate Brits – perhaps via Gibraltar – and handing out emergency cash loans.

“The nuclear scenario would be having thousands of Brits stranded at the airports in Spain and Portugal with no way to get money from the cash dispenser and no way to get home,” said a Foreign Office official.

Last week Standard & Poor lowered the credit rating of 10 Spanish banks and indicated the risk of a further downgrade.

Of the one million Brits living in Spain – mostly concentrated around Marbella and Malaga – many are in a vulnerable position, having retired to Spain on fixed incomes and purchased property with their savings.

20 COMMENTS

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  1. Wouldn’t British expats on a fixed income be unlikely to want to leave as their GBP pension would suddenly be worth a lot more “New Pesetas” even after you factored in inflation and wouldn’t they still lose on the exchange rate if they sold their property and wanted to go back to the UK?

  2. Two things, firstly I think this story has been leaked out by the FCO as a veiled piece of advice to ex pats who have moved all their savings to foreign banks to shift them to a safer haven while they can. They can hardly make this type of warning openly.

    Secondly having read the hateful remarks made on the Daily Mail website about this story, you will not find me rushing to go back. Judging by most of the remarks on there any ex pat returning to the UK faces being tarred and feathered prior to being stoned to death.

    To put this in some perspective they have contingency plans for should the earth be attacked by aliens. Whatever happens Spain would have to have a currency so I can see this only being a short term problem.

  3. In The Olive Press or on the front page of the Sunday Times, this story is so full of holes it’s just unbelievable. As Ben has said anyone lucky enough to be on a fixed income originating in the UK will be sitting pretty as Sterling becomes more valuable in the face of worsening problems with the Euro in general. Expats are hardly going to abandon their properties and return to live with relatives in the UK, or are we all going to be given a nice new council house when we get off the Navy flotilla in Southampton?!

  4. Someone suggests this is a veiled warning to expats to return their savings to ‘safe’ UK banks. Or, being cynical, an encouragement to get more investment into the UK banks? If the euro crashes the pound will too – it will affect the global economy. Stop scare mongering and sit tight.
    And why repatriate us? We will just be in the same situation as our Spanish neighbours. Better off in temporary acomodation in the UK – I don’t think so.

  5. I wouldn’t worry too much about the ATM, when the UK pull out of the EU, which they will, UK nationals working in Spain will have to return to the UK, no freedom to work accross EU borders, right? Same situation if Spain pull out of EU, times running out tick tock….

  6. You’d better get on your flotilla now, Sharon. You have great taste in canine names btw.

    Seriously though, an evacuation plan is just ridiculous scaremongering by so-called “journalists” (Daily Mail ilk – says it all really lol) although keeping your money in a Spanish bank is something more open to debate. Look at CAM Bank for example. I have friends who have had their funds frozen whilst that bank is being taken over, and they may not be able to access all of their own savings for an indefinite period still. Scarey stuff and not in the realm of fantasy.

    Btw, my worse case scenario is Paul Whitelock arriving for Christmas dinner. Evacuation definitely needed there and I bet he always brings socks for presents.

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