Labour MEPs: Return of roaming charges will see British holidaymakers hit by rip-off phone bills

The UK government’s confirmation today that British citizens may be hit by roaming and data charges when travelling in the EU after Brexit will mean holidaymakers once more being subjected to rip-off bills for using their phone abroad, Labour MEPs warned.

Catherine Stihler MEP, vice chair of the European Parliament internal market and consumer protection committee, said:

“Bit by bit, day by day, the full horror of the looming disaster of a Tory Brexit drips out, and today brings us yet another assault on our consumer rights, with the UK government confirming roaming charges will likely be reintroduced in the event of no deal, an eventuality Brexiters have been pushing for and which seems ever more likely.

“Labour MEPs have been at the forefront of the drive to cut roaming charges, and it has been the European Parliament that has led to the capping of and ultimately the abolition of roaming costs. And we are currently working on legislation to enable consumers to stream their online subscribed content, like Netflix, while in another EU country, on their laptops and mobile phones, paying the same rate for this service as they would do at home.

“But in leaving the Digital Single Market, far from making peoples’ lives easier as the EU is doing, Theresa May risks driving up holiday bills for British travellers, leaving UK citizens poorer and less connected.”

Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on industry, added:

“Labour MEPs have long campaigned for the end of exorbitant roaming charges, and it was great news when they were finally abolished across the EU. But now, thanks to Tory Brexit dogma, Britons going away on holiday from next April risk paying more to phone home, text their friends, surf the internet and upload pictures.

“If Theresa May and the Tories cannot deliver a deal we face the very real prospect of British holidaymakers, business travellers and students once more being landed with exorbitant bills, and European visitors to the UK being similarly ripped off.

“With roaming costs, we’d send the telecoms companies £350 million a year – let’s let holidaymakers keep that money instead.”