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Recortes de Prensa

British Consulate ‘Mojacar Roadshow’ goes down a storm

Costa Almería News, 29 | 05 | 2009 – Noticia

Expats hail Consul Steve Jones’ ‘refreshing approach’

Expats attending the British Consul’s open day meeting in Mojacar earlier this week gave the Consulate’s ‘Roadshow’ a resounding thumbs up.

Speaking before a packed hall at the Centro de Usos Múltiples, Consul Steve Jones was aided by advisors from the Department of Work and Pensions to answer questions mostly related to pension and healthcare issues.

Mr Jones, who replaced the outgoing Bruce McIntyre as Andalucía’s British Consul in January, addressed the concerns of retired expats in two lively sessions, each lasting about one and a half hours long.

Graham Rudd, who has lived in Mojacar for three years, said he was thrilled at the way the meeting had been organised. He said: “It was great of Steve to come to see us. All the speakers were brilliant.”

Almería resident Brian McKowen, who hopes to retire soon, said: “When you move out to Spain you want to make sure you’re entitled to your state pension and that you know what you have to do to ensure it arrives.

“The meeting provided a lot of useful advice.”

Mr McKowen’s wife, Suzette, agreed. She said: “You hear so much bar talk but this tells you exactly what you have to do to get your pension.”

Mr Jones’ presentation was also hailed as a breath of fresh air by many of those who attended the meeting. Johnny Iles, who lives in the UK but is thinking of moving to Spain, said: “The Consulate has had a staid reputation in the past, but it was really re-assuring to find an informal attitude from the Consul and to discover that you can openly talk to them.”

Mr Iles said the Consulate’s refreshing change of approach could help tip his decision in favour of moving to Andalucía for good.

Health treatment was also discussed and Mr Jones took the opportunity to thank the Spanish authorities for striving to improve translation services for expats, citing the recently introduced ‘902′ phone service as an example.

He said: “Lots of people have difficulty in hospitals, so it becomes a more relevant service as more Brits come to Andalucía to live.”

Almería’s new honorary consul was also presented, pending approval by the Spanish authorities. The successful candidate was named as Alejandro Guerrero Salvador, a Spanish economist based in Almería city and Vícar who is also bilingual.

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