Lady Neville-Jones was asked about a report that the Foreign Office was drawing up plans to evacuate thousands of expatriates, many retired, from Spain in the event of economic meltdown.
"It is very hard to see at the moment how the eurozone in its present form is going to survive. Spain is clearly a vulnerable area," she told Sky News.
"Now if that happens, one of the things that will happen in a crash of that kind is that the banks would close their doors. You would find that there are people there, including our own citizens... who couldn't get money out to live on. I think this is a real contingency that they need to plan against." The Foreign Office was reported to be examining plans to send planes, coaches and ships to Spain and Portugal if people cannot withdraw money, as well as ways of offering loans to stranded Britons.
Any sensible expat will put away some euros and some sterling under the bed. The banks may close briefly but the bucket shops offering currency exchange deals will remain open; and credit cards are not going to lose their purchasing power. The peseta will return quite quickly and all will be cheaper (at least in terms of sterling) than before. As long as you don't keep all your savings in a Spanish bank account (where they may suddenly re-appear as pesetas at an unfavourable exchange rate), we'll be OK.