A financial Dunkirk: Britain draws up plans to rescue expats if Spain and Portugal are hit by financial oblivion
By WIL LONGBOTTOM
Evacuation plans for British expats stranded in Spain and Portugal if their banking systems collapse are being drawn up by the Foreign Office.
The contingency plans are being put in place to help thousands of Britons if they were unable to get to their money in the event of a catastrophic banking collapse in two of the most vulnerable eurozone economies.
Around one million British expats live in Spain, particularly around Marbella and Malaga, and some 50,000 in Portugal.
The Foreign Office is concerned that those who have invested savings in their adopted countries would face losing their homes if banks called in loans and they were unable to access money.
Last week ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded 10 Spanish banks, including Banco Popular.
Among options being considered for a ‘nightmare scenario’ include sending planes, ships and coaches to evacuate expats – some through Gibraltar.
Small loans could also be made available to stranded Britons and pressure would be exerted on the Spanish and Portuguese governments to allow access to funds to pay for everyday essentials.
Both countries have a deposit guarantee, like the UK, which means depositors are covered for up to €100,000.
But in the event of a collapse, most banks would limit withdrawals.