Exclusive: ‘Global Britain’ shuts down honorary consulates abroad

The cuts will make it harder for Brits abroad to get help.

Since 2015, the UK has lost dozens of government offices overseas, making it harder for Brits abroad to get help.

Every few years, the Foreign Office releases a list of its ‘honorary consulates’. The list of consulates from 2015 includes many cities which aren’t on the list for 2020.

Honorary Consulates are the most minor type of mission abroad. They are smaller than Embassies/High Commissions and Consulate Generals and they are usually outside of capital cities.

They are led by part-time officials who provide advice to travellers and help deal with any problems British citizens encounter when in their region.

Left Foot Forward has identified 21 cities which are on 2015’s list but not 2020’s and which currently do not have an Embassy or Consulate General. In these cities, British citizens will now find it harder to get help.

Even before 2015, there had been concerns that the UK’s number of honorary consulates was too low.

A 2014 parliamentary report said that France had more than twice as many honorary consuls as the UK – and Germany also had more.

The report praised the work they do, saying: “We consider Honorary Consuls to be an important and efficient part of the FCO’s consular network, enabling it to extend its reach beyond capital cities. They do important work for British nationals at very low cost to the service.”

The report also found that austerity measures had resulted in the closure of many embassies and consulates. At the same time, demand for their services was growing as more Brits were living and travelling abroad.

The report said: “We are concerned that vulnerable British prisoners abroad are reportedly receiving less assistance than before.”

The list of cities Left Foot Forward has identified as now being without any kind of consulate, according to the data and the UK’s list of overseas missions, is below.

Aleppo (Syria), Bangui (Cameroon), Barranquilla (Colombia), Beira (Mozambique), Cayenne (Guadeloupe), St George’s (Grenada), Jerez (Spain), Kano (Nigeria), Kristiansand (Norway), Mindelo (Cape Verde), Portland (USA), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Rodrigues (Mauritius), Rosario Santa Fe (Argentina), Salt Lake City (USA), Salvador (Brazil), Seattle (USA), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Suez (Egypt), St. Malo/Dinard (France) and Tampere (Finland).

There have also been some honorary consulates set up since 2015. These are in Acapulco (Mexico), Hobart (Australia), Lubumbashi (DRC), Sal (Cape Verde) and Umea (Sweden).

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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