British government seeking international action on remittances


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and FXC Intelligence and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors.… Read more
  • The British government is working in partnership with Switzerland to encourage countries to boost support for remittances during the pandemic.
  • The government also reiterated that it was permissible for people to visit physical remittance centres.
  • “We’re making it easier for diaspora communities in the UK and other countries to continue to transfer money to their relatives,” said a senior UK government minister.

The British government has called on countries across the globe to collaborate to ensure that there is no problem with the flow of remittances around the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement with the government of Switzerland, the British government said that it was important that cross-border payments continued for people who rely on them.

The two countries also said that they would encourage other nations to help expand access to “digital remittance services and to declare remittances an essential financial service”.

In a statement, the British government’s International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that the actions of the countries would help “prevent fragile economies from facing potential collapse”.

“The coronavirus pandemic means we are all concerned about how our family and friends here and overseas are coping,” she said.

“That’s why we’re making it easier for diaspora communities in the UK and other countries to continue to transfer money to their relatives.”

“This will be lifesaving for some families in developing countries where coronavirus is making a lack of food and healthcare, and extreme poverty, even worse. We are helping to prevent fragile economies from facing potential collapse during the pandemic,” she added.

For the Swiss government, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, who serves as the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said that there was a strong role for “new technologies” to play.

“Remittances are important, but difficult because of COVID-19. So let’s make sure those barriers are removed worldwide! New technologies can help us here,” he said.

According to figures released by the British government, cash transferred across borders to loved ones in countries designated as low or middle income came to $554bn last year.

In a press statement, the government said that this was “a vital lifeline in many developing countries, boosting economic development and lifting people out of poverty”.

The statement also outlined what the British government had done in the past in this regard.

It said that aid from the government had assisted 65 million people in poor nations to use digital remittance platforms.

The statement also confirmed the position of the government on accessing physical remittance locations during the lockdown.

“The UK Government has made it clear that in the UK people can continue to visit remittance centres should they need to, while observing social distancing and staying safe,” it said.

“Digital money transfer services are also available,” the statement added.

To get up to speed on all the latest news about the pandemic and how it is affecting the cross-border payments sector, check out our news pages.

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