British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 30th April 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made an estimate of the costs incurred by UK citizens trapped in (a) India, (b) Pakistan and (c) Bangladesh after each country's recent ban on international flights.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Holding answer received on 29 April 2020

We do not have an estimate of the costs incurred by British nationals overseas.

However, we recognise that this crisis will have had a significant financial impact on people who have found themselves overseas for a longer period than planned or faced cancellations. Our consular staff continue to provide advice and support to British nationals who face financial difficulties overseas.

We are working to ensure airlines recognise their responsibility for transporting their passengers with pre-booked tickets home. This includes offering alternatives where routes are cancelled and encouraging airlines to allow passengers to change tickets - including between airlines.

We have worked with other Whitehall departments to help ensure that British travellers who normally live in the UK are eligible for furlough, business grants, and mortgage holidays on the same basis as they would be if they had been at home in the UK.

If people are struggling to afford ticket prices, emergency loans will be available as a last resort. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has streamlined the process for emergency loans, and is working with a commercial travel agency to ensure loan recipients have travel arrangements in place to return home.

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