Leslie – Government must stop Brexit hitting Brits with a roaming charges holiday tax

A bad Brexit deal could hit the average British traveller to Europe with mobile phone roaming charges of at least £61 a year. It comes as today [Thursday], mobile phone roaming charges across the bloc are abolished, meaning that a phone call from Britain to another EU country costs no more than a call within the UK.

The abolition of roaming charges applies to all EU member states, and all non-EU member states that are part of the Single Market. If the Government takes Britain out of the Single Market, or does not negotiate a bilateral deal on roaming charges with the EU, British travellers and holidaymakers will face high roaming charges. 

These could be well in excess of an average of £61 per year per traveller, or £573 million per year cumulatively.

Commenting, Chris Leslie MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“From today, British holidaymakers and business travellers will be better off thanks to the scrapping of roaming charges. This is a great example of how working together with our European partners through the Single Market can achieve real gains for working people.

“But with Britain leaving the EU, there is a real threat that roaming charges will be reintroduced when we leave, and British working people will face a hard Brexit holiday tax.

“The Government has a duty to ensure this does not happen. They must keep Britain in the Single Market after Brexit, or negotiate a deal that gives us ‘the exact same benefits’, as they promised, to ensure roaming charges are not imposed on Brits once we leave.”

/ends 

Notes to editors:

  • Currently, UK travellers have to pay roaming charges when using their mobile phones in another European Union country. The European Union has previously capped these charges for intra-EU calls (ie between the UK and any other European Union country) at the price of:
    • €0.05 per call made, per minute;
    • €0.01 per call received, per minute;
    • €0.02 per text message;
    • €0.05 per MB of data.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-885_en.htm

  • Note – these caps on roaming charges do not apply for calls between an EU member state and a non-EU member state.
  • In the 2014/2015 period, UK holiday makers in the EU were cumulatively hit with bills of £573m. 1 in 6 holiday makers in the same period had to pay upwards of £100 on their normal bill, with the average being an additional £61.

https://www.uswitch.com/media-centre/2015/05/brits-still-hit-with-annual-mobile-roaming-bills-of-573-million-after-holidaying-in-the-eu-2/

  • As of today, these charges are completely scrapped and mobile phone calls, texts and data usage will cost nothing for Britons using their phones in any other EU country.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-17-1590_en.htm

  • If the UK leaves the Single Market on leaving the EU, and does not negotiate a deal that gives us the ‘exact same benefits’ as membership of the Single Market, not only will roaming charges be reintroduced, but they could be at a significantly higher level, as the previous caps would not apply to calls between a non-member state (the UK) and a member state. Therefore, the average UK traveller could face a significantly higher annual bill than £61.