British Embassy Press Release: Home Office organised crime minister Karen Bradley and Spanish security minister Francisco Martinez Vazquez met in Madrid to agree how the two countries could co-operate more closely in recovering financial assets from fugitive crooks. The visit to Spain was the UK minister´s first trip abroad, underlining the importance of the bilateral law enforcement relationship. Criminals are known to move their assets overseas where it is harder for law enforcement agencies to reach them. More UK criminal assets are thought to be in Spain than any other EU country. The two countries committed to working together more closely to enforce confiscation orders made against British criminals after they are brought before the courts and convicted. Likewise, both governments have agreed to make every effort to assist the recovery of criminal assets found in their countries. The two countries will explore new ways to deepen their cooperation on confiscation cases and look to draw up a list of priority cases to tackle. The desire to create a more collaborative law enforcement system will also see a new asset recovery specialist from the Crown Prosecution Service posted to Spain and a Spanish liaison magistrate stationed in the UK. This common effort to seek new avenues for strengthened cooperation follows the success of Operation Captura, a campaign launched in 2006 and run jointly by the National Crime Agency and the UK Crimestoppers charity. It has seen 58 out of 76 named criminals on the run in Spain arrested and brought to justice in the UK. The ministers stated: “Excellent co-operation between our two countries has led to the arrest in the last five years of over three-quarters of Britain's most wanted in Spain and sent a clear message: there is no hiding place for criminals on the run. Both countries are determined to do even more to tackle the corrosive impact of serious and organised crime and ensure crime does not pay. The meeting of practitioners from both countries today will focus on practical cooperation to ensure crime does not pay. Spain also follows with great interest the UK’s discussions to rejoin Framework Decision 2006/783/JAI on the application of the mutual recognition of confiscation decisions, which will support future co-operation in this area. Spain and UK will deepen their co-operation still further by working together in the EU to strengthen the sharing of criminal record data about travelling sex offenders and combat the sexual exploitation of children, including through the European Criminal Records Information Systems (ECRIS). Spain will also look to drive further progress on this issue at international level during its forthcoming chairmanship of the G6.”
British Embassy News Release: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has visited the Benefit Fraud investigation team in Spain to thank them for their hard work and to show his continued support in bringing overseas benefit fraudsters to justice. In a meeting at the British Embassy in Madrid, investigators explained what they are doing to tackle benefit fraud such as data sharing with the Spanish authorities, which allows them to trace suspects living in Spain. The team has investigated over 1,200 cases to date and has recovered almost £5million of UK taxpayers’ money. Iain Duncan Smith said: “It is important that fraudulent claimants realise that even if they are living in Spain, it doesn’t mean they won’t be caught. Benefit fraud is a crime and we are committed to putting a stop to it whether you live in Spain, the UK or anywhere else in the world. Our investigators are here in Spain to make sure that no fraudster goes undetected. “I would urge British residents who suspect someone of committing benefit fraud to call the hotline in Spain on 900 554 440. You can help us to ensure that UK taxpayers’ money is going to those that need it most.” More allegations of benefit fraud are received in Spain than in any other foreign country. Fraudulent claims for Pension Credit and Income Support are the most frequently investigated. A man who left Britain to set up a catering firm in Spain is one of the latest cases to come to court. Nigel Hadley, 61, of Pembroke Dock, west Wales, has been ordered to sell his Spanish property to pay back more than £25,000 in falsely claimed benefits. Hadley moved to Marbella after his marriage broke down in 2000 and bought a fisherman's cottage two years later. He returned to Britain in 2011 and then claimed employment support allowance from the benefit agency, as well as housing benefit and council tax benefit. In all three cases he failed to inform the authorities that he had a property in Spain, despite being asked verbally and on claim forms. He was caught after the Department for Work and Pensions sent him a "habitual residency" claim form which specifically asked whether he had any other property. After he once more failed to reveal his foreign property, investigators discovered his Spanish home. Hadley has been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay back £25,960 of claimed benefits through the sale of his £90,000 property, his only asset. He was told to repay all the money within six months or face a jail term. If you suspect someone of committing benefit fraud you can call Benefit Fraud Hotline in Spain on 900 554 440. Lines are open 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday, and all calls are free and confidential.
Cabinet Office Press Release: British minister for reform Francis Maude visited Spain last week to discuss issues around public sector reform, and look at ways that Spain can learn from Britain’s experience of delivering an ambitious efficiency agenda. Over the last year, a number of visits between Spanish and British officials have looked to strengthen relations between the two countries on this shared agenda, including a visit by Deputy Secretary of the Spanish Prime Minister’s Office, Jaime Pérez Renovales, to learn about the British Government’s efforts to both modernise and increase efficiency in the UK’s public administration. On 10 February, it was HMG’s turn to visit Madrid, with Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude attending an international conference on public administration reform hosted by the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaría, to present Spain’s ‘non-stop’ programme to representatives from a number of European governments. Building on the well-established relationship between the Spanish Government and the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude showcased the UK’s initiatives to reform the public administration, comparing the UK experience with his counterparts. Driven by the key principles of efficiency and innovation, the Minister explained the UK’s determination to make public services better while saving hard working taxpayers’ money and reducing the deficit. The Minister’s no-nonsense approach has had tangible results. Last year the UK Government saved taxpayers £10 billion, with £500 million alone saved by stopping projects not aligned to IT spending controls. Reviewing, renegotiating and opening up public contracts to small businesses has also had a huge impact: ‘one great example of the potential from small businesses was when we retendered a hosting contract. The incumbent big supplier bid £4 million; a UK-based small business offered to do it for £60,000. We saved taxpayers 98.5%’ the Minister explained. Digitalising public services is also a key part of the UK’s long term economic plan. The Government has committed to make 25 services fully digital, from registering to vote to applying for a visa, in a bid to ‘make life better for citizens and businesses and change the way people think about how government works.’ And the resulting savings are indisputable. The cost of digital transactions is 20 times lower than over the phone, 30 times lower than by post and 50 times lower than face-to-face. Digitalising public services could save citizens, the Exchequer and businesses £1.2 billion over the course of this parliament, rising to an estimated £1.7 billion each year after 2015. The Minister is committed to being ‘unashamedly militant’ about enforcing efficiency and innovation across the board to help Britain succeed in the global race. ‘The work goes on. Not just to deliver digital-by-default, but more broadly, because making government more efficient and delivering simpler, clearer, faster services is a task that should never end.’
Dennis and Carol in the murica region, they live in the campo 15 mins from Mar Menor. They rescue dogs and have 14 now. Trying to contact them on another site but it would not work. Wish to offer assistance. If you can help please let me know or if you prefer get them to email me via this site.thanks
Do you have experience of seeking help from a British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission when travelling overseas? Did you get the support you were looking for? The Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons would like to hear from you in a two-week web forum on the UK Parliament website. You might have received British Consular help under a number of different circumstances; for example: loss of a passport the need for medical treatment or evacuation coping with the death of a relative arrest or imprisonment hostage taking, child abduction general evacuation of UK nationals in a national crisis Online comments from the general public will contribute towards a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Consular Services offered by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to UK nationals overseas. The web forum is online from 28 January to 11 February 2013-14 Inquiry focus This Inquiry aims to evaluate how the FCO fulfils its consular duties. The Committee does not, as a rule, pursue individual cases, but it wants to hear about your experiences as it assesses the FCO’s overall performance. Under the Coalition Government, consular services have been made one of only three overarching priorities for the FCO. Following an internal review prompted by its handling of the Libya crisis in early 2011, the FCO has overhauled its consular crisis response mechanisms, including through the launch of an expanded consular crisis centre in London in October 2012. In 2012, the FCO dealt with over 1 million general consular enquiries and over 100,000 consular cases, including over 20,000 cases requiring consular assistance. In April 2013, the FCO launched a new overall three-year consular strategy, ‘Consular Excellence’, with the aim of providing ‘the best consular service in the world’ by 2016. Chairman's comments Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway MP, says, “We want to hear from as many people as possible who have had to seek help from a British Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission when travelling. Whether you had a good or bad experience, we’d like you to tell us about it.” Direct link to the forum click here
Home Office Press Release: A human trafficking gang responsible for transporting young Nigerian women into prostitution in Europe has been dismantled, following a joint investigation involving Home Office Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the Spanish National Police. The network used London’s Heathrow Airport as a transit hub to move the women, some of whom were under 18, to mainland Europe for the purposes of sexual exploitation. The British end of the investigation began in 2011 when Border Force officers at Heathrow intercepted a number of females in transit from Nigeria to mainland Europe. Immigration Enforcement staff based in Madrid liaised with the Spanish authorities providing intelligence linking some of the victims to a suspected group of traffickers operating in Spain. They identified 48 potential victims of the trafficking network. The Spanish leg of the investigation culminated in the arrests of seven alleged traffickers in the cities of Madrid and Lleida in September 2013. Two female victims were also rescued. Because of legal restrictions in Spain details of the arrests there can only now be made public, but last year two men were convicted in the UK as a result of the investigation. In March 2013, following an investigation also involving Sussex Police, Odosa Usiobaifo from Enfield was jailed for 14 years for his role in the trafficking of 14 and 15-year-old Nigerian girls whom he put on flights to Spain from London. The following October David Osawaru, from Benin City, Nigeria, was jailed for nine years. He had been detained by Border Force at Heathrow in May 2012 as he chaperoned two Nigerian women in transit from Lagos to Prague. Clinton Nield, assistant director of Home Office Immigration Enforcement’s Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON), said: “Thanks to our close co-operation with the Spanish National Police and other law enforcement agencies in the UK and Europe we have successfully stopped a criminal network who actively targeted and manipulated vulnerable young women. “These women were given false promises and forced to travel to Europe where they were forced into prostitution. “Trafficking is an abhorrent crime and I hope this case sends a clear message to those involved overseas that international borders will not stop us from tracking you down and bringing you to justice.” James Brokenshire, Security Minister, said: “Modern slavery is a global problem and I welcome the news that thanks to the co-operation between the British and Spanish authorities this trafficking network has been stopped. “We are working closely with international law enforcement agencies to deter individuals falling prey to criminal gangs and disrupt slavery routes coming to the UK. “In addition to strengthening our response overseas, we are introducing a Modern Slavery Bill later this year which will send the strongest possible message to criminals, if you are involved in this appalling crime you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up.”
British Embassy Press Release: Follow “Brits living in Spain” on Facebook, says British Embassy Unsure how to report a crime to the Spanish Policía Nacional in English? What are your healthcare rights? Know how to renew your passport or get one in an emergency? The answers to these and many other important issues can be found on the Brits living in Spain Facebook page. Since its launch in November, more than 3000** people have already “liked” Brits living in Spain on Facebook – and the number is growing fast. The secret to Brits living in Spain’s popularity is that it offers both factual information and a lively forum for sharing experiences and reliable information about life in Spain. “Brilliant… keep up the good work.” “Great page…excellent idea and comments for ex-pats here in Spain.” “It’s an interesting way to get in touch with other Brits in Spain – and the passport and legal info is good.” These are just a few of the comments posted by followers and contributors to the page. Will Middleton, Consular Director for Spain, says, “We are really pleased with the response so far and with how British residents are sharing the information they find useful with others.” “If you are not yet following us and want to benefit from independent advice and others’ experiences, then please do search for Brits living in Spain on Facebook and “like” our page.” Brits living in Spain is run and moderated by the British Consular network. It is a sister channel to the British Embassy’s UKinSpain Facebook channel, which focuses on institutional and political information. Residents who are Twitter fans and want to keep up with the latest news from the Consular network can also follow @BritsliveSpain, and read news and comments from the British Ambassador on @SimonManleyFCO. How to follow Brits living in Spain: Go to www.facebook.com/BritslivinginSpain and “like” us. If you don’t already have an account you will be prompted to create one. If you are already on Facebook, then search for the “Brits living in Spain” page and once on it, click on “like”. (** 3,230 followers at 21 January)
The last event of a very successful year for HAH Mar Menor was the Craft Fayre held at Bacchus Restaurant, Urb. Oasis, Los Narejos on Sunday 8th December. Another fantastic selection of gifts & cakes (most made by HAH volunteers) along with cards, diaries, calendars, jewellery, clothes, and of course, our ever popular “everyone wins” tombola, raised a further €523. A superb performance was given by Spangles Ladies Chorus, getting everyone in the Christmas spirit…no snow, only brilliant sunshine! Our giant hamper, raised a further €210 and was won by Nicky Robinson, blue ticket no. 483. The hamper at The British Supermarket in Los Belones brought in an amazing €115 and was won by Jeannie, ticket no 107. Our thanks to Jackie and John for their continuing support. There are many people who have helped us in so many ways, far too many to mention, but special thanks to Helene & Christer at Bacchus for’ lending’ us their restaurant for our meetings, DFS San Javier for sponsorship, Mike Campbell and Roda Social and Joanne & Steve at La Zona who support our weekly books and card stalls and also have made several donations from their weekly bingo sessions. We would also like to thank our wonderful friends from the local media, your continued support advertising our events has been brilliant, thank you all so much for your help. Important Notice HAH have had another very busy year, and as so many Volunteers are going away for Christmas for a well-earned rest, we will be unable to take on new clients between 23rd December until 6th January. Contingency plans will be put in place for existing clients, but please note that, in the case of emergency call 112 or visit your own GP or emergency department at local health centres/.hospitals. Happy Christmas to all and a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year from HAH Mar Menor
Good Work Continues At the last general meeting of HELP Murcia Mar Menor Bernard Ash, the president, reported that 2013 had been a successful year thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and the contribution of the members. He pointed out that HELP MMM is a registered charitable organisation, whose accounts are made available to members at the general monthly meetings and in the office. HELP MMM will be donating to good causes after the AGM next March 2014, when members vote on which charity or good cause they wish the money to be given to. They also give clothes and donations to CARITAS and to the Samaritanos as well as ADAPT. Confusing Names HELP MMM has been helping the local community of the Mar Menor for 12 years, and should not be confused with similar sounding charities, HELP At HOME Costa Blanca and HELP At HOME Mar Menor. The link between HELP Murcia Mar Menor and HAH is Lesley Eburne, who left our charity to set up her own charity to deliver a needed service she identified.
British Embassy Press Release: Hundreds of British nationals are currently locked up in prisons across the globe for drug-related offences, often detained for months without trial and facing distressing living conditions. In Spain, consular staff dealt with over 100 drug-related arrests last year alone and drugs offences account for approximately three-quarters of the 172 Brits currently on remand or serving sentences in Spain. Now the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), in conjunction with the charity Prisoners Abroad, is launching a campaign to highlight the consequences of the use, possession and smuggling of drugs in Spain and countries around the world. The zero-tolerance approach of some countries often results in strict penalties which can come as a shock to British travellers. In Spain offenders may, in some circumstances, be held on remand for over a year before their trial. Even if released on bail, they will be unable to leave the country. Offences that may carry cautions in the UK are often penalised with long prison sentences overseas. Some drug crimes can lead to even more severe penalties – 33 countries or territories enforce death sentences for drug offences**. In Spain, sentences can be as long as 20 years’ imprisonment in the case of hard drugs and up to 6 years and 9 months for soft drugs, with fines of up to six times the value of the drugs. Prisoners Abroad is currently supporting 84 Britons between the ages of 18 and 30 who are being held in foreign countries for drugs offences – 62 are yet to face a trial.* Here in Spain, the consequences of being detained for a drugs offence can be devastating, Will Middleton, Consular Director for Spain, comments: “Being sent to prison overseas away from family and friends is very distressing and even more so if you don’t speak the language. We see people of all ages - from youngsters through to pensioners - who have lost their friends, their job, had to give up their studies or had their children taken into care and got into major financial difficulties because they did not think they would get caught. “In the last year alone consular staff in Spain handled over 100 drug-related cases. If you or someone you know is involved in the illegal drugs trade, then the message is clear – the consequences are simply not worth it.” Terry Daniels and Billy Burton are two British nationals that have seen valuable years of their life spent in prisons overseas. Terry was sentenced by a Spanish court to 10 years in prison for drug smuggling on the basis of guilt by association, while Billy was charged with smuggling marijuana out of the Philippines. Both want to see the number of Britons involved in drugs in other countries reduced and have described their experiences in a video to warn others not to make their mistakes. Case study Imprisoned in Spain – Terry Daniels Terry Daniels was accused of smuggling a million pounds worth of cocaine from Brazil to Spain in 1997. She had been working in Brazil with her boss, a nightclub manager, and was travelling back to Spain with him when he was caught with the drugs in his suitcase. Terry maintains her innocence and said she had no idea that he was carrying the drugs. But a Spanish court prosecuted her on the basis of guilt by association. She served six days in prison before being granted bail, when she then returned to the UK. A number of years passed and it appeared that the Spanish authorities had dropped the case. However, while living in Ireland in 2002 a police check revealed that she was still wanted in Spain. She had been prosecuted in her absence and her sentence (10 years in prison) was still outstanding. In June 2003, she was arrested on an international extradition warrant. She was flown back to Spain and imprisoned in one of the country's toughest mixed jails, Topas prison, near Salamanca in northwest Spain where she stayed for 19 months. She was then given permission to serve the remainder of her reduced sentence in the UK. Terry says, “I will always love Spain and know that holidaymakers and expats alike have a great time there. But I would urge people not to get involved in drugs – not even recreational drug use which many may see as harmless. I got involved with drugs at a young age and paid the consequences – I ended up in Topas prison and everything in my life changed – it is not worth the risk.” She now undertakes charity work on behalf of Fair Trials International and Prisoners Abroad and has recently published a book, ‘Passport to Hell’.
Hello everyone, I would be very grateful if you would help me by completing a questionnaire by clicking on the link below. If you live in Murcia or holiday in Murcia your contribution will be very much appreciated and benefit your region. It only takes two minutes and everyone in the household that has visited Murcia or lives in Murcia as a resident can complete the survey individually. This is a study for the University of Murcia, for my PhD thesis. kind regards Jorge https://encuestas.um.es/encuestas/encuestas.realizacion.insertar.gen?a=8D54D5989FAB57911AA94CE201FA8E23 The questionnaire can only be completed by English native speakers. I really appreciate your time and effort spent on filling in the questionnaire for the study. Yours faithfully, Dr. Marta Navarro Coy (supervisor) & Jorge Soto Almela (PhD student) University of Murcia, Spain
British Embassy Press Release: The unlucky thirteen revealed as Crimestoppers launch Operation Captura campaign seeking criminals believed to be hiding in Spain Crimestoppers, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Spanish Ministry of Interior are once again on the hunt for Britain’s most wanted, with 13 new faces released to the public, thought to be evading capture in Spain. A new appeal is being launched to hunt out the ‘unlucky thirteen’ wanted criminals as part of the latest Operation Captura appeal, all of which who are believed to be hiding in one of the most popular countries for British ex-pats. The suspects are part of the eighth Captura appeal since its launch in 2006, and are wanted for crimes including attempted murder, sexual offences against a child and drug dealing. The successful multi-agency campaign identifies serious criminals on the run wanted by UK law enforcement agencies for crimes committed in the UK. Since Operation Captura launched in October 2006, 53 out of 63 criminals have been arrested, with many now behind bars. Crimestoppers and the NCA work closely with the British Embassy in Madrid and with British and Spanish law enforcement agencies. The campaign highlights appeals for information on criminals who have European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) issued against them. Information given to Crimestoppers can help locate these criminals so that arrests can be carried out by the Spanish police. Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said: “The fact we are able to once again launch Operation Captura is an indication of how successful the last seven years have been since its inception. “However despite our success so far, there are still a number of dangerous criminals who see Spain as a safe haven to hide from their past, but with the support of the Spanish and UK public, we can hunt them out and bring them to justice.” British Ambassador, Simon Manley CMG, said: “We face threats from drug traffickers and distributors; people smugglers and human traffickers; fraudsters and financial criminals; and the emerging threat posed by cyber criminals. “The cooperation that Spain and the UK enjoy on law enforcement is a vital part of that strong bilateral relationship, contributing to the security – and the prosperity - of both our countries. “ Hank Cole, Head of International Operations for the National Crime Agency, said: “The NCA and its partners have the capability to pursue fugitives relentlessly. Spain is not a safe haven. Fifty three fugitives have been caught since Captura was launched, and many more linked to other operations. “The exceptional level of collaboration and intelligence sharing with the Spanish authorities has been vital to many of these arrests. The most important thing though is the power of this campaign to harness the eyes and ears of the public, both in the UK and here.” For those people calling from Spain there is a special freephone Spanish 900 555 111 telephone number which will be answered in the UK by Crimestoppers’ call agents and a translation service is available upon request. People can also pass on information anonymously via the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org TO VIEW THE 13 APPEALS PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINK: www.crimestoppers-uk.org/opcaptura
British Embassy Press Release: Simon Manley CMG, a member of the UK’s Diplomatic Service since 1990, today (Monday 28 October) succeeds Giles Paxman as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra On his arrival, Simon Manley, the new Ambassador, said: “I am delighted to be here in Spain and look forward to strengthening our broad and deep bilateral relationship. Spain is a key ally within the European Union and NATO and is one of our most important trading partners. “Creating sustainable growth is a priority for both the UK and Spain. I’m delighted that some 400 Spanish companies are registered in the UK and investors such as Santander, Telefónica, Iberdrola and Ferrovial have made Spain our sixth largest inward investor, totalling 40 billion pounds of Foreign Direct Investment stock at the end of 2011**. “Meanwhile, British companies exported 8.27 billion pounds (9.7 billion euros) of goods and service to Spain, making it the UK’s eighth largest export market.” Mr Manley said he was looking forward to meeting and working with companies in both Spain and the UK, whether established investors or new entrants keen to secure a foothold in their respective markets. “I am excited by the prospects for cooperation and growth in sectors like energy, car manufacturing and life sciences that are so important for future growth. “Liberalising trade both within the European Union and beyond it is a vital enabler to create jobs and growth. As two open economies with strong Atlantic ties, the UK and Spain share a common commitment to secure an ambitious trade agreement between the EU and the US and to ensure that the EU is at the forefront of moves to free up world trade.” Mr Manley also highlighted the importance of British citizens in Spain. “More than 13 million Britons visit Spain every year, generating 1 per cent of Spain’s GDP. Some 800,000 have made Spain their home permanently or for part of the year, and the UK remains the largest foreign investor in Spain’s property market. I’m impressed by how the British Consulates across Spain work with Spanish partners to do an excellent job of assisting British nationals.” Before his posting to Madrid, Simon Manley was Director Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2011 to 2013, where he was responsible for policy towards the EU, the UK’s bilateral relations with its European partners, and the FCO’s network of 57 European posts and more than 2000 staff. He served previously as the FCO’s Director Defence and Strategic Threats (2008-2011), leading the Government’s international counter-terrorist, counter-proliferation and counter-narcotics efforts, as head of Counter-Terrorism Policy (2006-2008) and as head of the EU Economic, Central Europe and Ireland department (2002-2006). He has been posted to the UK’s Mission to the United Nations in New York (1993-1998), where he worked on Yugoslavia and UN reform, and has twice been seconded to the European Union: to the European Commission (2003), working on State Aids policy, and to the Council of the EU (1998-2002), working on Russia and Ukraine and then East Asia. Mr Manley was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 and a Commander of the Polish Order of Merit in 2004. Mr Manley read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford and International Relations at Yale University Graduate School. He is married to Maria Isabel Fernandez Utges Manley, an intellectual property, competition and regulatory lawyer. They have three daughters aged 13, 12 and 5. Watch and find out more about the new Ambassador at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKcpjR4cPEM Photos of the new Ambassador http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinspain/sets/72157637049672396/ Follow Mr Manley on his Twitter account @SimonManleyFCO
British Embassy Press Release: Consulates are focusing on most serious and demanding assistance cases Taking a few simple steps can help British expatriates to prepare for the difficulties of living in Spain or avoid them altogether, says Ambassador Giles Paxman in a new TV interview. Checking your passport expiry date, telling visitors from the UK what to get before they travel, and visiting your local town hall to find out about local services are all measures that will help Britons in Spain to avoid running into time-consuming problems later, says Mr Paxman. “If you’re living here you can prepare for the sort of difficulties you might face so that if those difficulties do occur, they remain simply difficulties and don’t become dramas”, says Mr Paxman in an interview with expatriate television station Viva TV, which can also be seen on YouTube. “First of all check the validity of your passport. It’s very easy simply to make a note in your diary when your passport needs renewing. If you don’t and you’ve suddenly got to travel overseas, it’s going to be very disruptive and very expensive to get an emergency passport.” “Tell people who are coming to visit you what they need to do before they travel. Tell them to get their European Health Insurance Card, and tell them to get comprehensive travel insurance because if they don’t and something happens to them, then the holiday will turn into a nightmare.” Mr Paxman adds that it is important that expatriates should try to integrate into their local communities. “A lot of British people who live here don’t speak Spanish and I understand that, but more and more local authorities do have people who speak English. Go along to your local town hall and find out what sort of services they’re offering. “You’ll probably find there’s more than you might imagine including the local, emergency and health services that may be able to help if you face a problem. Those are the people that Britons should be turning to if they face difficulties, rather than coming to the Consulates.” The British consular network in Spain is the busiest in the world, handling more than 6000 cases last year. “Because we have such a high volume of cases we have to be fairly selective about the things that we will do and the things that we won’t,” says Mr Paxman. “We have to focus on the most serious and demanding cases. “Some of these cases are highly distressing: young people who have come out to Spain and because they haven’t taken the right precautions or because of a moment’s stupidity – often alcohol fuelled - they can ruin their lives.” Finally, Mr Paxman encourages all expatriates to visit the British government website at www.gov.uk. “You can find out so much about what the government does and what services are offered in every area from tax to health and social services. You may find the answer to a lot of questions you didn’t even know you had.” The interview with Mr Paxman was filmed by Alicante-based Viva TV and reflects on the Ambassador’s four years in Spain. It can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8WdlIZ20sc Ambassador Giles Paxman leaves Spain later this month. He will be replaced by Simon Manley, a senior diplomat who previously headed the Foreign Office’s Europe Directorate.
UK hit TV show Cowboy Builders is currently searching for cowboy builders abroad. Have you been ripped off abroad? Has a language barrier cost more than it should have? Has your dream place in the sun become a nightmare of shoddy workmanship? Ricochet Television is currently producing a brand new series of Channel 5's Cowboy Builders and is keen to hear from British Ex-Pats who have fallen victim to rogue builders away from home. We would like to hear from anyone who has lost money on building or renovating a dream new abode or holiday home in the your area as a result of under qualified workmanship. So if you've been ripped off by a British or English speaking builder and you want us to expose them and maybe even help to fix your property, then please contact the Cowboy Builders team on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 1273 224 829. Ricochet Television is one of the UK's leading independent television production companies that produces high quality Factual and Entertainment programmes for broadcast by major networks in the UK and the US . Recent, award-winning shows include Food Unwrapped, Britain's Empty Homes, Hollywood Me and Cowboy Traders. For more information please visit our website http://www.ricochet.co.uk
This was a letter received by Lesley Eburne from Willie Thorne: Dear Lesley, Having seen recent reports in the media, I write to congratulate the HAH volunteers on the tremendous success they have achieved over the past 2.5 years. To start a charity from scratch, and in a foreign country is no mean feat, and the fact that you have raised sufficient funds during this time to give free help and support to over 700 people, is a testimonial to all the HAH volunteers. As Patron of HAH, it gives me great pleasure to hear of your continued success, and I am sure that all the people that you have helped are extremely grateful. You must all be extremely proud of your hard work and achievements. Keep up the good work; Kind regards Willie Thorne
British Embassy Press Release: New statistics show peer pressure and cheap drinks can lead to more than a holiday hangover In a new campaign under the banner “On holiday, don’t let drink do your talking”, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is encouraging young holidaymakers to think before and while they drink to avoid putting themselves at risk of serious harm. Expats are being asked to share this important message with visiting friends and family to help ensure they spend their time enjoying their holidays, not in hospital, jail or worse. New research shows that around half (51%) of 16-24 year olds say they are likely to drink more on holiday than at home. Almost two thirds (62%) attributed this to alcohol being cheaper. Peer pressure is also a major factor, with 40% of those surveyed saying they had felt pressure from friends to drink more than they wanted to.* Consular staff in Spain have already been called on this summer to come to the aid of British nationals who find themselves in trouble after drinking to excess. Will Middleton, Consular Regional Director for Spain said: “Going on holiday is a great opportunity to relax and have fun with family and friends, and enjoying a drink can be part of that. We’re not telling people to stop drinking but we do want people to be aware of the consequences of drinking to excess – and our research shows almost half of young people understand them already. “Laws and customs regarding alcohol vary from country to country, for example with lower limits for drink driving in Spain and “free-pour” rather than specific measures, which makes it harder to control how much you are drinking. It’s important to find out about local laws, including on alcohol consumption, to avoid a night in a police cell or even a criminal record. “Drinking can impair judgement. The effect of being hospitalised or arrested overseas goes far beyond a ruined holiday and can have a devastating impact on family and friends – financially and emotionally. So our message is have fun in the sun, but drink responsibly so you don’t put yourself at risk of harm.” One example of what can happen is the story of Jake, who fell from a balcony after a night out with friends. His moving video story can be seen on www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhxqyPUyiTs The FCO is also encouraging holidaymakers to show respect and consideration to other holidaymakers and local people while on holiday - the findings revealed that excessive alcohol consumption resulted in young British holidaymakers engaging in risky or disrespectful behaviour: Almost a quarter (23%) of young British holidaymakers have gone swimming while drunk on holiday abroad More than one in ten (11%) young Brits have put themselves in a vulnerable situation with a stranger while drunk on holiday abroad Over a quarter (26%) of 16-24s have done something while drunk on holiday that they were ashamed of. Top tips to ensure alcohol doesn’t ruin your night out or even your whole holiday: Remember tolerance to alcohol may change in the heat and bars in Spain often serve larger measures than in the UK. It is worth alternating your drinks with water or soft drinks. Protect your drink – to avoid the risk of your drink being spiked, keep an eye on it at all times and don’t accept drinks from strangers unless you see them being poured at the bar. Stay close to your friends – if you are drinking with friends look out for each other. If they seem drunk or act out of the ordinary, make sure you get them home safely. Never let a friend go home alone or with someone they don’t know. Drink respectfully – this includes showing respect and consideration to other holidaymakers and local people while on holiday.