A COSTA BLANCA vicar and a leading churchman had the chance to voice concerns about the British government’s plans for Brexit at a top level meeting in Brussels.
Father Richard Seabrook, Chaplain for the Costa Blanca South and Andrew Johnson, Warden for Costa Blanca North, were representing the Church of England here in Spain.
They were among 17 volunteer delegates joined by Bishop Robert at a meeting facilitated by the Anglican church’s Diocese in Europe and the UK Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose, using a videoconference link to the embassy in Brussels for Lord George Bridges, a Minister in the UK government’s Brexit Department, who was able to hear and respond to concerns.
Major concerns centred on future health provision abroad and in the UK, pensions affected by the lower rate of exchange for sterling, clergy recruitment and the problems of families with dual nationality.
The Venerable Richard Seabrook from Torrevieja spoke of a deep fear about the future among older church members in Spain and France. He said this was already affecting peoples’ emotional and mental health.
“Up until now people have received excellent medical treatment under the Spanish healthcare system” he said. “But are having to make personal choices now, based on other decisions which have yet to be made. They already face uncertainty because the value of pensions are reduced by 20 per cent because of the fall in the pound’s value since Brexit , their homes are worth less because of the state of the property market and they’re worried if they sell and return to Britain they may not be able to afford a home there.”
Lord Bridges and the Ambassador assured of the Prime Minister’s wish to settle the issue of reciprocal rights for UK nationals quickly after Article 50 is triggered.
After two hours airing the issues, participants said they felt their concerns had been heard but were saddened to have to return to their congregations with very few definitive answers, as the process is still in its early stages.