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Cameron vows to protect UK as crisis in Greece deepens

By Andrew Woodcock

Britain has urged eurozone governments to find a "sustainable solution" to the debt crisis in Greece following the emphatic rejection by voters of an austerity package demanded by creditors in return for further bailouts.

David Cameron vowed that the Government would do "whatever is necessary to protect the UK's economic security", as Chancellor George Osborne acknowledged that the chances of a "happy" conclusion were "diminishing" and that Britain could not be immune to the fallout from the crisis.

The Prime Minister spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she prepared to go into talks in Paris last night with French President Francois Hollande. The pair will today go into crunch talks in Brussels with other leaders of single currency states which could determine whether Greece can remain within the euro.

Greece's future membership of the single currency has been thrown into doubt by voters' rejection in Sunday's referendum of an austerity package demanded by the country's creditors in return for further bailouts. The 61%-39% No vote has plunged the European Union into what is widely seen as the deepest crisis in its history.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor met Bank of England Governor Mark Carney in Whitehall to discuss the contingency plans the Government has put in place to protect UK businesses, banks, holidaymakers and the 40,000 expats living in Greece.

Updating MPs in a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Osborne said: "This is a critical moment in the economic crisis in Greece. No one should be under any illusions. The situation risks going from bad to worse.

"Britain will be affected. The longer the Greek crisis lasts, the worse it gets. There is no easy way out, but we urge the eurozone leaders and Greece to find a sustainable solution. Meanwhile, here in Britain we must redouble our own efforts to put our house in order, and in the Budget in two days' time I will set out exactly how we will do that."

The Foreign Office's travel advice has been updated to reflect the outcome of Sunday's poll, warning: "Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services - including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs - throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice."

British tourists are not advised to steer clear of Greece, but recommended to make sure they take "sufficient euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays" as well as to take security precautions against theft.

Mr Osborne said the financial situation in Greece could be expected to "deteriorate rapidly" if there was no signal from meetings scheduled for the next 48 hours that Athens and eurozone governments were ready to table to thrash out a new deal.



Percentage of the Greek public who voted to reject austerity package

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