British Foreign Office personnel have proposed emergency evacuation plans for their citizens living throughout Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal. As tensions over the survivability of the Euro mount, the government warns that a collapse of the banking sector and the European monetary unit may make it impossible for those with assets in affected countries, including bank deposit accounts and homes, to access their funds and evacuate to Britain.
The drastic proposals emerged as a former Security Minister warned expats could be left stranded and destitute by the break-up of the single currency.
Brits who invested their savings in their adopted countries may not be able to withdraw cash and could even lose their homes if banks call in loans, worried ministers are warning.
The Foreign Office is preparing to bring them back from Spain and Portugal if the two countries are forced out of the euro, triggering a banking collapse.
Commenting on the evacuation plans, she added: “I think they are right to be doing that. I think this is a real contingency that they need to plan against – very, very worrying.”
Officials are braced for a nightmare scenario where thousands end up penniless and sleeping at airports with no means of getting home. Planes, ships and coaches could be sent, with some expats being brought out through Gibraltar.
The Foreign Office could offer small loans while piling pressure on the banks to give Brits access to their funds.
Spanish and Portuguese banks guarantee the first 100,000 euros deposited by savers but many put limits on withdrawals in a crisis.